It feels like every day now we hear negative news about the uses of social media. The latest is a study from the University of Pennsylvania in early November, which seems to be the first official research study linking social media usage to loneliness and depression.
I mean, it’s not that surprising. Most of us who use it don’t really need the science to back it up. We know. Steeping yourself so much in what other people are doing, constantly comparing yourself to others and living with fear of missing out isn’t healthy. Add in the drama, stalking, political news and it’s really not the happy place it used to be.
It’s Mostly Not Real
One of the biggest challenges with social media is the fake news. No, not just that fake news. It just feels like there’s a lot of faking going on all around. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen couples post lovey-dovey messages publicly only to find out that they aren’t happy together in the background. Or when I open up Instagram, everyone is apparently living the perfect life – except for me.
I think that’s why so many people feel that anxiety. You look up and all you see is people traveling the globe, eating great meals and doing all of the coolest things while you’re just stuck in your mid-afternoon boredom behind an office desk. Then you paint this picture in your head that you’re missing out on life. How CAN you be happy with that mindset?
While some of what we see on social media is real, a large portion of it is not. The truth is, people fake, exaggerate and put on a façade to show how great everything is. I’m fine with it, but I think most of us have caught on that it’s simply not reality.
Fatigued With Feeds
I’ve had my fill of feeds. Yes, I know. They are still very useful and are going to be a part of my life the rest of my life, but I’m trying to whittle down the noise a little bit.
There’s a Facebook feed with what everyone’s up to. Then there’s a LinkedIn feed with what all the work folk are up to. Then there’s an Instagram feed with what all the cool peeps are up to. Add to that, newsfeeds, Tumblr and Twitter. And then there’s the approval that comes with it. This post has been ‘liked’ a million times and that one ‘upvoted’ and this one ‘retweeted’. Are we posting things truly important to us or is it for the likes, retweets and shares? I’ve often wondered.
With WERSTARS, there is no feed. There is no noise. I do it for myself and no one else, and I like that.
What Is WERSTARS?
In short, it’s a website where you see your whole life on one page. First off, it’s a gorgeous layout. I’ve never seen a website that looks like this: your page will eventually look like a sky populated with stars. The sky is filled with your years, which scale from your original birthday up the current day. So, as you get older, your sky will grow.
Here’s how the rest of it works:
-Add your moments, which can be photos, videos, journals, recipes, career highlights, birthdays, new year’s or anything else;
-When you add a moment, you choose the date and then a star is created on your sky on that date;
-Add keywords like “travel” or “new year’s”. Then when you click those keywords later, the sky filters the stars with just the moments related to that keyword. It makes it so easy to find things;
-When you tag others, the star (and moment) appears on the same day and date on their sky too. That’s how you share. You can also click on a person to filter the sky by just the moments between the two of you;
-Save things publicly or privately.
Appreciate Your Life
A funny thing happened when I started using WERSTARS: it helped me discover happiness.
Originally, I spoke with the founder, Dave Golokhov, and he talked about how it helped him find happiness but I figured it’s more of a marketing spiel. Everyone has a sales pitch for happiness, right? But in this case, it is true. I personally felt that effect and here’s why:
The difference with saving photos, memories, and videos here versus other networks is that with WERSTARS, it’s mostly just for you. It’s like having a really versatile journal where it’s easy to find things and revisit them. On social media, we compare ourselves to others so much and search for what’s missing in our lives. With WERSTARS, it’s about seeing what you DO have.
I felt the effects after using it for just a couple of weeks. I saved about 20-30 moments and then revisited them a couple of times. Hitting the random button and having cool things from my history pop up really made me feel all the feels. I saw my life, my accomplishments and the things that really made me happy. There’s no judgement from others – just the things that were important to me.
It was weird to see myself in that light as so often, I’m looking to see what’s missing in my life. I need to hit the gym or I need to save more money or I need to make progress in some other way. This allowed me to focus on what I HAVE done and what I HAVE accomplished. I really developed some gratitude and it’s helped shift my mindset.
There are all sorts of studies that say happiness is closely tied to appreciating what you do have. I can now vouch for that.
So…Where Do You Save Your Stuff?
I’ve kind of 180ed in my social (networking) life. When I first started using Facebook, it would be the main place where I saved my photos. Girls’ trip? Album posted. Hosted a party? Album posted. Nowadays, it feels cringey to do that; we’ve just changed the way we share.
I found myself going the complete opposite route: not saving any of my stuff and I don’t like that either. I have my photos on my iPhone that are backed up by the cloud but that’s mostly it. The rest of my photos from my good camera sit in folders on a desktop.
The issue with that is that you almost never revisit it. All of those good memories from birthdays or school or milestones and then they just sit in some digital pile. WERSTARS actually makes sense because we should revisit our childhood, how we celebrate New Year’s and our relationships. And because there’s no feed and no judging, I’ve felt much more comfortable using it as a place to save memories online.
And it’s far easier for me to revisit things (just open the app) and find what I’m looking for. Whether it’s by year, or a keyword, or relationship, I can see what my life is about. This website and app (iOS and Google Play) not only make so much sense, it’s what we need right now. Best of all, it’s completely free. Try it out by using the website and/or downloading WERSTARS and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Protecting Your Retail Stores Finances
You have worked hard to build your retail store into a profitable business. Providing your customers with safe and secure credit is what keeps them coming back, but how can you protect your finances? Here are a few steps your retail store can take to protect itself from financial loss.
Make sure your data is well protected
The world of retail is changing. It’s gone from floor to web, and now it’s in the air. Technology is advancing faster than anyone can keep up with. How we buy and sell goods has changed, but the basic rules have stayed the same: you need security.
Investing in cybersecurity for your business is a big part of protecting your retail store finances. Data breaches are reported in the news every day. Be prepared to defend your assets by ensuring your data is well protected from threats, viruses and hackers.
By safeguarding your finances with Internet security systems that aren’t easily hacked into, you’ll be able to focus on the rest of your business.
Invest in the proper type of insurance
Business insurance helps protect your business finances by providing you with protection when you need it. Public liability insurance can protect your business finances against a variety of risks from property damage to customer injuries and legal claims. This will also stop you from going bankrupt if someone makes a claim against your business.
Protecting your retail store finances can provide peace of mind for you and your business. Whether you’re a new or existing business owner, learn about how the right retail business insurance can help protect your business finances and assets.
Control your expenses
Understanding how to control your expenses is crucial for any retail business, big or small.
Reducing the amount of expense in your retail business is a good first step to protecting your money. Know what you are paying for, how much, and if you’re getting value for it.
Make it a point to keep an eye on your budgets, but you also want surety that you’re aware of every penny that flows in or out of your business. With timely, easy-to-read reports and data-driven insights from book-keeping apps, you can be certain that every transaction counts toward your bottom line.
Separate personal finance from business finance
Business owners are highly motivated to grow their business. From hiring additional staff to purchasing expensive equipment, you’d like to have funds available when you need them. However, a lot of companies do not separate their personal finances from the finance of their business. Everyone knows that mixing your personal and business finances in a single bank account is not a good idea, so always separate them.
If you are like many small business owners, your personal finances and business finances are mixed. If the two are intertwined, then business decisions can have a direct impact on your personal financial situation and vice versa.
Explore additional sources of funding
Protecting your retail store finances is one of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses. Growing insurance costs, cash flow shortages and general overheads often get in the way of long-term financial planning. For many, a bank overdraft is used to balance books and stave off insolvency, but you could be risking much more than just your overdraft interest rates.
Furthermore, as a business owner, you are personally liable for all company debts – which could leave your personal credit rating negatively impacted if the unexpected happens, and your retail store can face financial challenges that could threaten the success of your business over time. It’s important to explore funding options and solutions to help protect your profits in the long-term.
No matter how much you invest in your retail store, your ability to protect yourself and your store’s finances should be the most valuable investment you make. Protecting your retail investment is important, and hopefully, this short article has provided somewhere to start from.
A Great Start: How to Plan a Successful Business
While there is no denying that starting a business in any industry is considered a milestone and an achievement to be proud of, the prospect of trying to keep the business afloat during the first one or two years is another story entirely. It can be challenging enough trying to keep your business afloat by gathering clients and clout within the community, but preventing a new company from being overshadowed by industry giants requires passion and careful planning.
When you consider that the slightest mistake could lead to potentially devastating consequences for a new business, it is almost ironic that one of the most challenging phases of business management is typically helmed by inexperienced business owners.
Fortunately, you do not have to go in blind. Here are a few ways you can plan ahead for a successful business.
Knowledge is power
While it is common knowledge to gather as much information as you can about your industry, many startup owners end up focusing on the immediate needs of their business. Keeping in touch with the latest trends in your industry ensures that you have a wealth of knowledge to consider when you start making big decisions for your business.
It also helps to keep in touch with industry trends, as it allows you a glimpse at what your competitors might be into. For contracting businesses, it might be techniques such as using a precast retaining wall, and for restaurants, it might be a new superfood making waves as an ingredient in common recipes.
Focus on the loyalty of employees
For any business out there that makes use of employees, they are the lifeblood of a company. For startups, how your employees perform dictates whether or not your business falls flat. Fortunately, one of the tried and tested ways to bring out the potential of your staff would be through the use of employee incentives. It is all right to start small if you do not have the budget to go for an all-out incentive plan – the crucial part is your staff understands that you are looking out for them.
The moment your employees start thinking that you have no intention of providing an incentive, they will likely only give the bare minimum to keep your business going.
Look into reasonable coverage options
While it might not seem like an immediate issue, coverage is undoubtedly one of the most crucial aspects of building a business. The right type of coverage means you can focus on building your company without having to worry about legal issues potentially making your goals impossible to achieve. It would be a good idea to look into a business owner’s policy (BOP), as it typically combines coverage types your business needs while simultaneously being cheaper than the sum of its parts.
There is no denying that running a business and keeping it afloat amid a competitive industry is a substantial challenge. That said, the tips above can help you maintain a foothold and forge ahead in your chosen industry.
4 Ways To Encourage Health And Well Being In The Office
Your workforce is your most important commodity. It, therefore, pays to take good care of them.
Yet the latest statistics show that poor health and wellbeing measures in the workplace is the prime cause of absenteeism. As a result, enterprises suffer diminished productivity and turnover, and high medical, legal and insurance costs.
The World Economic Forum says work-related stress is a pandemic and costs the global economy £255 billion a year. Moreover, stress is the largest single predictor of absenteeism and poor workplace performance.
Promoting health and well-being in the workplace essentially revolves around four pillars; eating healthy food and drinking more water, managing stress levels, promoting mental health and getting sufficient sleep.
Offer Nutritional Snacks and Meals
Chocolate and sugary snacks may be more appealing but they are not good for the health of your staff or the productivity of your business. Sugary foods may provide an initial spike in energy, but quickly crash. This leads to fatigue and a deterioration in cognitive function.
The best healthy snacks contain protein, fibre and carbs such as nuts, banana cake and popcorn. Homemade energy bites and smoothies go down a treat as well!
According to the American Heart Association, sitting is the new smoking. Sedentary jobs increase the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular-related illnesses.
Encoring employees to move around the office has been identified as a potential solution. Today’s agile office designs encourage employees to work in specified zones and take the stairs instead of using the lift.
Agile office designs also incorporate break out areas which encourage people to take the regulated 20-minute break every hour and refresh their brainpower.
It’s likely that all your employees know that exercise is good for them but few of them actually engage in physical activity. Motivation is the key issue – so why not poke your workforce with an exercise stick.
For example, you could organise weekly sports events, or encourage a work team to enter in local sports events such as 5-a-side soccer. Perhaps you can strike an arrangement with a local gym or yoga class, or install bike racks to encourage people to cycle to work.
You could also encourage your staff to download the Sweatcoin app which rewards people for walking. The app counts your number of steps and converts them into a digital currency directly on to your smartphone. You can then exchange the sweatcoins for merchandise and earn massive discounts.
Invest in Mental Health Strategies
Now it has come to light that mental health issues impact work performance, more companies are investing in strategies that place health and wellbeing of their staff at the centre of their workplace strategy.
Human-centric approaches include offering childcare benefits and e-coaching services that help staff manage stress. Virtual support systems for employees working from home also help people feel less isolated and part of a team.
Experts also advise employers to remove the pressure of targets. Stress can drive people towards drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. In doing so, their workplace performance suffers.
If you notice signs of workplace stress in your employees, you should seriously consider installing strategies that foster health and wellbeing. Companies that neglect their workforce will notice a drop in performance and a rise in absentee-related costs.
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