Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Freelancing Work Ethics & the Social Cocktail

There are times when freelancing, despite all its freedom, can get a bit depressing. Sometimes your routine gets you down, while other times its just one of those days when you want to turn to your coworkers and complain to your hearts content. Although working from home is appealing for many, it comes with its own bunch of setbacks.

While on the glamorous side of the freelancing picture you can sit in your PJ's the whole day and work, on the dark side of it you just can't turn to a colleague and complain about your tough schedule and work overload. This is the bit you have to swallow on your own if you freelance.

Chillax and Enjoy!
Having said that, its not all that bad and freelancing still has its own charm. The good part is that you are not bound to that 9 to 5 schedule, nor do you have to sit amongst annoying people all day and bear them. Instead what you can do is work at your own ease and still make time for your favorite friends and family. And this is the charm that attracts many to freelancing, time and time again.

Make time for Socializing
As a freelancer you can schedule your work around your social time and run your business instead of letting your business run you. It's fun to work as a freelancer when you know that you can plan lunches with your friends, take a day off to hang out with the family, go shopping or get off work early because you have a dinner party at night. You can make your schedule work for you and make social time, all in one go (Something you really can't do if you work in an office).

Not just that but while socializing you can also increase your networking and gain more business opportunities as well. The best part about freelancing is that while you can socialize whenever you like, you can also make up for the lost time later as well, especially during those quite days when friends and family are not available to hang out with and when there isn't much going on in your life.

So get up, go out and chillax! Go socialize with friends and make dinner plans with the family. Just because you work from home doesn't mean that your schedule has to be boring. In fact it can be all the more fun mixing work and play together in a social cocktail ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Freelancing Frolics - From the CEO's desk

The best part about freelancing is that you get to be your own boss. You set your own schedule, manage your own timings, respond to your own creativity and are responsible for your own self. Sometimes though, while freelancing, you can end up working for multiple bosses and as a result are liable to a hectic schedule and plenty of deadlines.

At the end of the day however, what matters is being capable of managing your schedule, no matter how hectic, and still finding a balance in life. Striking a balance between work and fun is important, especially if you are a freelancer. Don't let work get you down. You are your own boss - remember? So why not find ways to work comfortably around your schedule and at your ease. Freelancing brings freedom a whole new flexibility, so why not happily use it to your advantage!

My next couple of posts will be comprising mainly of tips that will help you bring back the 'fun' and 'freedom' into your freelancing business. So here goes...

Seize the Moment!
Freelancing offers its own advantages. And while you get a fair share of disadvantages too that can make your schedule unbearable, what matters is how well you can cope and strike a balance.

What makes me appreciate freelancing most is the freedom of it all. Despite the usual busy schedule it's exhilarating to try and seize control of your work and life together. It feels like an achievement to make time for going out with friends, cooking a special meal for the family or just relaxing under to cool shade of a tree in the afternoons while playing with your pet. The best part is that you don't even have to compromise your work for these things most of the times.

Make Your Own Time!
True that work schedule can be quite tough at times, not to mention those annoying and sometimes outrageous deadlines we have to meet as freelancers. But making time for fun really helps boost your enthusiasm for work rather than making it more hectic. No matter what your business is or what you freelance about, remember to find a couple of ways to personalize your work schedule even if it means taking time off work every single day. Interrupt your routine on purpose and do something fun and relaxing. Of course this does not imply taking hours off work every day, but at the end it all comes down to understanding your work ethic.

Fit fun things in your everyday work schedule, whether for a few minutes or for a couple of hours. Stop fretting about how much work you have and learn to enjoy that you have work at all. So make your own unique time everyday starting today and bring back the 'freedom' in freelancing! :)


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

15 Life Lessons Worth Remembering

I was reading 'Life Maps' by Gregory E. Lang the other day. It's a great book filled with some amazingly simple directions (as the author puts it) that one can use to find his/her way in life. Although what the book offers are lessons that are quite simple and require only common sense to understand, it's a pity that still some of us humans lack that common sense and are too engrossed in our own selves to realize the worth of loved ones.

Isn't it funny how most of us don't realize what direction our life is taking while we make irrational decisions time and time again? Isn't it funny how we start our journey for something and half way through lose the sight of it? The truth is that it isn't funny at all! Still a number of us remain blind to what's right in front of them and start taking life and all those dear to us for granted, only realizing their worth when its much too late. Anyways, so much for my rantings :)

While there are so many things in the book that are worth sharing, given below are only a few of the worthwhile lessons to live by...
  • Don't have double standards. If you don't want others doing it to you, you shouldn't do it to them either.
  • Make time now for those you love. You never know how much time you might have to give later.
  • Its easier to lose the respect of someone you love than it is to earn it. Once earned, be sure to keep it.
  • Know what brings out the worst in you and avoid it.
  • Try harder when given a second chance.
  • Contribute time and money generously when you can. When you cannot, make up for it later.
  • If you have led someone to expect something from you, don't get mad at them when eventually they do.
  • Give more than you take. It will come back to you in one way or another.
  • Loving someone is all the more reason to tell them when they are wrong.
  • Never take up a habit that you know you will need to break someday.
  • When in doubt, wait. Often a quick decision is the wrong one.
  • It's more important to care about what your loved ones think than what strangers think.
  • Remember that succeeding in marriage and family is better than becoming the world's best CEO.
  • When your life isn't going according to plan, ask yourself if you have the right plan.
and here's one that perhaps seems hard to believe but is nevertheless true to its core:
  • Although opposites attract, they seldom stay together.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Color Filter on Google Image Search

Google has recently added another new feature to its image search, the Color Filter. The Google Image Search Color Filter allows you to select the color in order to select the images you wish would appear in the search results. Although this function was available before, however a code was required for that which could be placed in the URL of the query page in order for the specific results to be filtered. But now with the new feature readily available all you have to do is click a color and get filtered results.

You can also use the color filter in your own image searches. All you have to do is search for something like you normally would, then on the results page click on the 'All colors' drop down bar to choose a color of your choice. It's an interesting feature (unlike some of Google's special features) and will hopefully be a useful one, especially when you want a filtered search.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Control your Sleep – Do you have what it takes?

A major misconception people tend to have is considering themselves stuck to a certain sleeping pattern for their entire lives. How many times have you heard someone saying that they are a morning people, or evening people or the ‘night owls’? This misnomer is based on concepts people commonly have and which they come to think of as facts. Considering themselves to be capable of sleeping only at a certain time or thinking of being capable of complete wakefulness at another.

Excessively Sleepy? Caffeine won’t help!
If you think that caffeine can keep you awake, think again. Studies show that buckets full of tea and even coffee won’t help when you are suffering from excessive sleep disorder. Nor will coke or any amounts of chocolate, which are otherwise known to contain active caffeine ingredients, will help you stay awake. Alcohol, drugs and smoking are also known to rob patients of deep sleep while keeping them lethargic.

Dealing with Sleep Issues

Not having a proper sleep pattern is a flaw but having one, knowing the hazards of your disorder and then not doing anything about it, is no less than a crime. And it’s a crime you commit against yourself and your health. In the long run it is you who will suffer and consequently your loved ones.

You have a Choice - Take your Pick!

It’s simply wrong to blame your relatives or friends for keeping you awake or blaming them for destroying your schedule, its wrong to believe that you didn’t have a choice, because you do. It’s our own weakness that allows us to get by in most situations and find others to blame it on. In any walk of life, in any situation, we always have a choice. It’s the one we make that creates all the difference in the world. So make a choice today! Take your sleep very seriously but don’t let it or the lack of it take over your life. Any kind of sleep disorder must be taken seriously and professional help should be sought.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hypersomnia - The Wake up Call [Part 3]

Unchangeable sleep pattern? — No such thing!
Sleep can easily be compared to eating. Our body will try and get more than it really needs, and as a result we spend more time sleeping than absolutely necessary. Our body demands sleep proportional to the amount of learning received during the preceding day. However, modern research suggests that even in case of total inaction, our body demands sleep for seven to eight hours. Few people realize that we are capable of changing our schedules of sleeping by shifting them every 30 to 40 minutes daily.

Hypersomnia in Men
Sometimes there are other causes that lead to hypersomnia and therefore need to be taken care of. In men, the most common factor that causes hypersomnia is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Around 10 per cent of men suffer from OSA, which leads to hypersomnia. This involves loss of the muscle tones in the tongue and throat area that collapses during sleep leading to a block of the air flow, making the patient wake up temporarily before falling asleep again and hence disturbing the natural NREM-REM cycle.

Hypersomnia in Women
Anything taken to extreme is not good. It is the same case with sleep. A study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that excessive sleep in women aged from 50 to 80 can lead to serious stroke risk.

Stop Catnapping & Start Exercising!
People suffering from hypersomnia remain restless, disoriented and anxious throughout the day. Mostly a drop in alertness happens after a heavy meal, as is common in our part of the region. A short nap is generally known to bring people back to their alert selves, but if you want to cure your excessive sleep disorder, it is best to replace catnapping with press-ups. Twenty minutes of physical exercise is enough for anyone who wants to sleep well and keep fit. But remember to exercise no later than three to four hours before nighttime; otherwise this will interfere with your sleep pattern.

Although particular causes of hypersomnia may vary with each individual, in most cases the treatment involves changing your lifestyle. Ninety per cent of the time, all the patient requires is a proper daytime schedule and the willpower to stick to it. Making a schedule is not a problem; the main issue is sticking to it and following it strictly. We easily find reasons to sidetrack from the path and then blame it on circumstances and other people.

Not having a proper sleep pattern is a flaw but knowing the hazards of your disorder and not doing anything about it is simply foolish!

Published: Dawn | Images | Health Wake up call

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hypersomnia - The Wake Up Call [Part 2]

What is Hypersomnia?
Excessive daytime sleepiness is a disorder clinically defined as getting more than 10 hours of sleep every night and still feeling lethargic for most of the day. Symptoms include feeling sleepy despite the long sleep hours, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Energy levels remain low and even napping does not seem to help. People feel weakness and muscular pain. It is best to consult your physician immediately if you suspect hypersomnia.

There are two known kinds of hypersomnia. The primary hypersomnia distinguished by prolonged excessive sleep disorder. This happens over a long period of time and the symptoms remain consistent. The other is called recurring hypersomnia. However, this lasts for a day or only a couple of days, but can recur many times during a year.

Dealing with it
Since delay in bedtime is the most common cause of this problem, very often hypersomnia is cured by changing your sleep pattern. One can try and change the sleep pattern for a week or so before seeking professional help.

Making sure of your health problem and finding the reasons for your symptoms is the first step to a cure. That is why it is important to consult a physician for a proper diagnosis. Hypersomnia is an uncommon disorder and excessive sleep does not necessarily mean that one has this problem. In fact, there can be several other causes for the excessive sleepiness. About five to 10 per cent of adults aging between 15 to 30 years are known to suffer from this disease.

Make a Schedule
Quite often we initiate sleep too early which results in a longer period of sleep and lethargy through the day. Try to adjust the sleep phase from three to six hours after you start feeling sleepy. Take optimum sleep rhythm into consideration and try to avoid sleep during the day. Maximum sleep generally comes during the middle of the night and tends to increase slightly in the afternoon.

Recognizing maximum sleepiness is important to set a healthy pattern for ourselves. We can take note of when we feel sleepy the most for a couple of days to keep track. Once we understand the sleep pattern, we should try and adjust it to our schedule. The best time to sleep is at night since our mind and body’s natural pattern demands that. Therefore we should try and set our sleep pattern accordingly. Avoid falling asleep anytime during the day, even if it’s just for 30 minutes or less since chances are that we might still wake up ‘un-refreshed’. Continued...

Published: Dawn | Images | Health Wake up call

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hypersomnia - The Wake Up Call [Part 1]

Sleep is a favourite past time for many. And perhaps rightly so, since some of us are just too overworked, tired, lethargic or simply need a break from the hassles of the day-to-day life. But did you know that a continued excessive sleep spell can be dangerous for your health?

For years we have been told that lack of sleep is a disorder and causes serious harm to human health. Recent studies show that even too much sleep is just as harmful. Potentially doubling the risk of an early death, excessive sleep is the latest of sleep disorders and a major concern for many worldwide.

Sleeping more than the recommended seven to eight hours per day could possibly be a leading cause of various chronic diseases. Where too little sleep is linked to a number of cardiovascular issues, too much sleep is associated with diseases that range from several forms of cancers to chronic conditions of anemia, obesity, diabetes, smoking, drug abuse, head trauma, medicine withdrawal, metabolic factors and serious depression.

A normal human requires only seven to eight hours of sleep per day. During this period our body and mind rejuvenates and prepares itself for another day. But if you are sleeping over eight hours constantly, then your body is trying to tell you that there is something seriously wrong with you.

Although there are various possible medical reasons and disorders that lead to excessive sleepiness, the most common factor is stress or depression. If you have suffered from excessive sleepiness for over a month then it should not be taken lightly. People younger than 30 years are prone to fall into excessive sleepiness, and unless you have suffered from recent trauma or are possibly stressed over some major life issue, the sign that your body is giving out must be taken seriously.

Dr. Piotr Wozniak, in his work ‘Good sleep, good learning, good life’ states that over 90 per cent of the human population suffers from some kind of a sleep disorder and for a real solution we drastically need to change our ‘family life… work… or some social rules’. Since sleep plays a significant psychological function, those of us who fail to respect their sleep patterns are likely to never reach their full intellectual potential. Continued...

Published: Dawn | Images | Health Wake up call

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Google Search Parody - April Fool!

Philipp Lenssen (author of Google Blogoscoped) created an interesting parody of Google this April Fool. Although the related page and its search are not related to the real Google, it is a clever bit of work for sure. The search allows you to find everything and anything related to the April Fool's day. Interesting.... :)