Change the Way You Work at Your Desk and End Back Pain

 

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A little awareness of how you work at your desk and some minor adjustments can end that nagging back pain.

  1. Try to keep your head and neck aligned above your shoulders. This may take some practice, as we commonly hang our head forward to see computer monitors. Known as vulture neck, this can lead to consistent back pain over time.
  2. Don’t reach too far for your mouse. Keep it close to your keyboard. The overreach, combined with insistent clicking of the mouse button, transfers pain from arm, to shoulder, to back.
  3. Use a lumbar back support on your desk chair. That added support prevents chair slump. You can also get supports with cooling and heating features for extra comfort.9190001_Hero_072210.png
  4. Breathe for your back. Try these breathing exercises every now and then while sitting at your desk. Take deep breaths from your stomach muscles, think of sucking your belly button toward your spine. This strengthens core muscles that weaken from excessive sitting.
  5. Make sure you are the right distance from your monitor. Hunching forward is bad, as is reaching for your keyboard from far off. Try to be about 2-3 inches away.
  6. Keep feet planted. Crossing feet at the ankles or resting a foot on a file cabinet will eventually put strain on your back muscles. Keep feet flat on the floor and about shoulder width apart.
  1. Take a break. Just moving around every 15-20 minutes helps circulation. .
  1. Don’t cross your legs. This position creates tension in your legs that translates into back pain.
  1. The infamous phone cradle. Don’t cradle your phone on your shoulder. Even though you may do this infrequently, eventually this awkward position strains neck, shoulder and back muscles.

Checklist for Creating a Healthy Nursery

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When decorating a nursery, our thoughts usually go to the color of the paint and the style of the crib. But there are many practical ways to create a nursery that is also healthier for your baby. Here is a quick checklist:

VOC-free paint. VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, found in many house paints continue to release fumes even after the paint dries. Choose an interior paint without these harmful additives.

Solid wood nursery furniture. Engineered wood, wood finishes and upholstery materials can release potentially harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, which is often used as a binding agent. Get solid wood over pressed wood furniture to avoid these harsh chemicals.

Organic crib mattresses. Babies sleep on a mattress for 10-14 hours or more a day during their most fragile developmental years. Get a mattress free of  synthetic materials that can release potentially toxic chemicals into the air your baby breathes.

Nursery air purifier. Keeping the air in the nursery clean with an air purifier prevents allergens, dust and mold from irritating fragile newborn lungs.  Babies breathe an average of 30-60 times a minute—that’s more than double the amount of an adult. With this greater intake of air during the early post neonatal period, the developing lungs are highly susceptible to environmental pollutants.

 

Creating Hands-On Marketing in a Digital Age

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With the rise of SEO and digital advertising, your internet footprint, as valuable as it is for modern communication,  leaves customers with just a glimpse of who you are, a brief message that vaporizes with the next barrage of marketing headlines online. Handing your customers collateral, believe it or not, still works. This is especially true for small businesses where an emerging reach with new customers and clients becomes more solidified with a printed piece. Creating your own marketing materials is also easy and cost-effective, helps build customer relations and doesn’t require the costs incurred from a print shop.

Types of  Collateral

The Menu of Services

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Whether you are running a beauty salon or a cake decorating business, an elegant menu of services that customers can hold in their hands is an ideal way to pull in new business opportunities by stimulating questions and engaging customers with printed content. The Menu of Services can reside in your waiting area or be a piece customers can take home after an initial visit to your storefront.

Tips for Menu of Services

  • Use quality paper stock or laminate the pages
  • Use a font that fits your brand
  • Take time writing each menu item description. Make sure it is clear and not so fun that it fails to communicate anything. Be detailed and make distinctions between menu offerings

Bind your Menu of Services with a wire binding machine. This type of binding allows the menu to be laid out flat and also makes it easy to switch up pages in the document if menu offerings change.

The Professional Leave Behind

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For sales calls and new client meetings, a professional leave behind is the ideal way to tell your company story succinctly and without a lot of fluff. A leave behind that is kept, over one that ends up in the trash after you leave, is defined by a professional look from cover to cover. Use a thermal binding system to communicate the quality of your services and indelible permanence of your company. You want your client to see your brochure as too premium to be tossed. Be sure to communicate in pictures and words what you can do for your client and how you do it.

The Customized Proposal

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When it comes time to crunch numbers in a client proposal your presentation becomes a combination of clarity, accuracy and professional look. Whether you are quoting for a contracting opportunity or a closing on a service agreement, that customized proposal needs to have all the right info and look as good as its contents, but not too high end that it looks like you might be wasteful with budgets.   High quality thermal in this instance may imply excessive spending. Show you are conservative and mindful of the bottom line. Use a comb or wire binding system when putting together your presentation so information is clear and not cluttered behind jazzy graphics or a lot of copy. The other advantages to this binding system is that documents can be laid out flat on a desk to discuss details while meeting with your prospect.

Top Four Moving Season Mistakes

Because most of us don’t move that often, we tend to forget the moving mistakes we made. With moving season upon us, here are some reminders of what we typically do wrong and how to correct those mistakes.

Mistake 1#  What is wrong with cheap moving boxes? Getting unstable, cheap moving boxes from the supermarket-The bottom will literally drop out on boxes meant to hold vegetables and dry cereal. These boxes were not meant to hold your stuff!

Solution: Invest in actual moving boxes. Because they are designed for moving, they have greater durability and  special construction features that make them stackable. No failed bottoms or bulging sides.

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Mistake# 2  Sealing your boxes too soon. Moving day is chaotic and you will quickly find yourself taping up boxes too soon, only having to tear them open because you forgot to pack an item or you have accidentally packed a item you need to take with you (like the keys to the moving truck).

 

Solution: Select tape-free moving boxes. No need to buy packing tape and no need to worry about opening up a box again once you have sealed it.  Tape Free Moving Boxes make it easy to change your mind about what you have just packed. Plus, it makes unpacking a whole lot easier without when you don’t have to cut through packing tape.

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Mistake #3  Improper lifting equals back problemsWe may remind ourselves to lift with our legs, but in the commotion of moving we will forget the rule with painful consequences.

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Solution: get moving boxes with handles. Handles give you a firm grip on every box compared to the smooth sides of standard boxes. Plus you can easily lift every box without having to reach under the bottom and lift, which is usually when back injuries occur.

 

Mistake #4 No labeling-where does this box go?-Forgetting to label your boxes means disorganized unpacking once you reach your destination.  Nobody wants unpacking to turn into a guessing game.

 

Solution: Choose moving boxes with clear labeling areas. You can stay organized by marking each moving box clearly.  It will make unpacking easier and the move smoother.

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QUICK TIP: Use colored dots to mark boxes for different rooms. Create a legend that coordinates with the colored dots. So yellow dot boxes go to living room, red dot boxes go to kitchen, etc. This is especially great when you hire movers who don’t know where everything goes!

How to Maximize Space in a Small Cubicle

A small cubicle workspace does not have to mean disorganization. Use the partition walls for storage, task management and brainstorming. Here are three cubicle hacks for quick and easy organization.

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Vertical Storage

Files and office supplies can take up space on desktops. Convert one of your cubicle walls with vertical storage, using Partition File Pockets and Vertical Organization Trays to organize documentation, and Partition Shelves and Pencil Cups for office supplies. Also use waterfall sorters and step files for vertical file management.

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Section off one of your partition panels for task management. Your priority to-do list is as easy as a Partition Clip and pending projects can be displayed with a Note Rail.

 

Brainstorming in a Small Space

Transform your cubicle into a think tank with simple accessories. Use a Partition Dry Erase Board for new ideas and hang a vertical file pocket or brain bin for notes, thoughts and problem-solvers.

Traveling with your digital devices? Here are some things you might need.

 

Phones, laptops and tablets help us stay productive, pass the time and keep us networked while traveling.  Here are a few extras that can help enhance that on-the-road digital experience.

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Privacy Filters

On a crowded airplane, that casual glance at your laptop screen be annoying. Take the precaution of a privacy filter for peace of mind. Blackout privacy filters completely black out the side view of your laptop or tablet and even some smartphone screens(depends on the model). Yet the straight on view of the screen for you is completely clear. Privacy filter technology is improving, make screens easier to attach and remove for those occasions when you want to show someone your screen. Otherwise, even if you are not necessarily looking at confidential info, it’s still more comforting to keep your screen private.

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Tablet Portfolios

Tablets are especially useful for business trips. They are compact and versatile and are quickly becoming one of the go-to digital technologies for quick and easy digital presentations. Now you can improve the productivity of your tablet by accessorizing. Tablet folios feature new designs that allow you to view your tablet free standing, or hand held, in vertical or horizontal orientations and in several different viewing angles. Executive folios even come with a Bluetooth keyboard.  And it doesn’t matter whether you are left handed or right handed, new folio designs accommodate both. It’s also nice to have traditional stand-bys with your tablet—such a writing pad, pen and business card holder, a few perks that make traveling with your tablet more productive.

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Laptop Lapdesk

As wonderful as laptops are for travel, on a long flight they can leave your lap a little warm, if not hot. Lapdesks eliminate the burn. With built in cooling channels  you will never suffer from scorched thigh syndrome again. Modern designs also feature bumpers that keep the laptop securely in place and slightly angled for easy typing. Toss one in your briefcase or bag pack for your next trip.

Allergy Tips for Spring 2016

Allergies tend to take us by surprise, especially if we only have spring-related allergies like pollen.  Our symptoms subside over the winter and then with the first warm breezy day we start sneezing. Here are some preemptive measures you can take before spring allergy season 2016 takes hold.

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  1. Complete An Early Spring Cleaning

The dust that has lain dormant over the winter will be whipped up into an allergy frenzy when you open the windows on the first warm day of spring. Do a thorough spring cleaning. Be sure to change air filters in your furnace and clean air vents throughout the house.

  1. Don’t Take Pollen to Bed

Bedding can actually accrue pollen and other allergens as you come and go from your home on temperate days. Wash your sheets weekly in hot water to prevent allergen build-ups. This is especially true for pillow cases!

  1. Shower Before Bed

Further prevent allergens from following you to bed by showering at night. Pollen particles can cling to hair and skin.

  1. Get an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are especially helpful on high pollen count days. Choose an air purifier with a True HEPA filter that cleans 99.97% of allergy-causing irritants from the air such as pollen, ragweed, animal dander, and mold spores. Many air purifiers also include a carbon filter for reducing odors, certainly an added benefit. Running an air purifier in your bedroom at night also helps you sleep better. If you do, get one that runs quietly.  Also make sure to change your filter regularly. Find an air purifier with a filter change indicator so you don’t have to keep checking.

New AeraSmart™ Sensor Technology monitors the air quality and automatically adjusts the fan speed to keep your air purified.

  1. Avoid Hair Products if Possible

Hair gels and sprays are pollen magnets. If you must use hair products, at least rely on step 3 to wash hair thoroughly at the end of the day.

  1. Remove Shoes At Home Shoes, like hair and skin can pick up allergen particles that have settled on the ground. Wearing shoes indoors can circulate those particles in your house.
  1. Wear Shades Outside Pollen and other allergens and accumulate around the eyes. Sunglasses can protect the eye areas.

How To Throw a Green Outdoor Party

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According to the Clean Air Council, every day 43,000 tons of food are thrown out in the United States, and each year Americans toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. That news can really ruin the party! Here are some great suggestions to keep any event positively green.

Go paperless on invitations

One of the advantages of digital technology is that it really can be a green alternative. Email your friends and family your party invitations and save a tree!

Plan organically

Get all your party food locally, which can really reduce the impact on the environment by reducing the cost of transportation from other states. In addition, you should only consider organic foods and beverages. These products were grown free of fertilizers and pesticides, and by supporting organic farmers with appetizers and drinks made from organic products, you are truly and positively impacting the environment while still having a good time. There is even organic beer and wine!

Go aluminum

As more and more beverages are being packaged in plastic bottles the attitude is generally that plastic can be recycled too. But in reality it takes 95 percent less energy to recycle an aluminum can than to create a new can from raw materials. Serve your cold drinks in aluminum so you can recycle much more easily. Designate one of these specialized recycle containers just for aluminum cans. Besides, aluminum will really help cold drinks stay cold longer.

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Say no to Styrofoam

Styrofoam is a landfill nightmare and one of the most common sights at any get-together. Go with recycled paper plates and party ware so that cheese dip bowl from Labor Day 2015 does not last for 1000 years.

Clean up green

Avoid using plastic garbage bags as much as possible. Plastic is like radioactive material to the environment-it lasts a long time, up to 10-20 years! Use these popular recyclable waste containers to keep waste under control at your event. No need for bags, each container can be easily recycled. Designate different containers for glass, aluminum cans and anything else you can recycle. When the party is done, simply give them to your recycler. The containers are lightweight, easy to assemble and if you really party a lot, they can be reused. That’s right, just empty your recyclables into recycle containers at home and fold these nifty corrugated waste containers back up for the next party you plan!

Five Red Flags To Look for When Moving the Office

 

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Guest Blogger Karen Warner Corporate Moving Specialist

Throughout the office moving process, pay attention to these clear signals of disorganizing danger.

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1. Slipping Off The Moving Timeline

Because you created the moving timeline, you may feel you can give yourself or others a little wiggle room. The value of the timeline however is to prevent deadlines being missed. Allowing for a gap in the timeline can cost time and money. Stay disciplined and keep yourself, other employees and movers on track.  

Download a Free Office Moving Timeline

2 Under-Ordering Supplies

Because of your office moving budget, you may feel that it is okay to not quite have enough moving boxes or supplies. But trying to squeeze past this red flag can lead to panic come moving day. You will probably end up paying too much for emergency boxes anyway. So if you have any cushion in your budget, make sure you have plenty of quality moving boxes and enough supplies. Too much is better than not enough.

3 Address the “I Don’t Knows”

As you coordinate your office move, you will be faced with questions from others and will have questions for others. If at anytime you find yourself answering “I don’t know,” or getting this as an answer from someone else–then this is a red flag. Immediately find answers to all unanswered questions as soon as you can. Don’t dismiss them as problems you can handle later. I don’t knows, at any point in the office moving process, can come back to haunt you later.

4. Boxes Marked Miscellaneous

As moving day approaches you will begin to see moving boxes piling up throughout the office. Take a few minutes to see how they are being labeled ( if you didn’t label them yourself). When other employees are left to manage packing their own office or cube, “miscellaneous” or “office stuff” may end up on the side of the box.  Have employees clearly label every box with details. If you see one mislabeled, get it fixed right away.

Red Flag: “It’s Okay, I’ll Recognize My Boxes. They Are The Ones Marked Miscellaneous”

5. Keep Tabs On Priority Boxes

There will be some boxes that need to be unpacked right away upon arrival. After all, you are a business, and even during an office move, work will need to get done. Make sure these boxes receive priority markings. Prompt the moving company about them so there is no confusion about their importance. Know who needs to unpack them and where at the new destination. Most importantly, know where these boxes are at all times during the moving process.

Seven Ways a Laminator Can Help You Organize Your Day

We think of laminators as an office machine or even for making crafts at home. But laminators can also help you get organized. Create some of these organizational tools using free templates and see how an average day gets a little less chaotic.

Need a laminator? Select One Here

 

Dog Walking Schedule

We love our dogs, but in any household you know the responsibility of taking him out for a walk isn’t always shared equally, especially in the AM. Laminate a dog walking schedule so that everyone takes turns with the task, leaving no excuses when Fido is wagging his tail by the front door.

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Meal Planner

Working out of the home and running a household can get hectic. Managing what to cook every night gets easier when you plan ahead. A meal planner also makes grocery shopping very efficient.

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To Do List

Your to do list changes everyday, why create piles of paper when you can just dry erase?

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Chore Chart

Getting everyone involved in housework encourages responsibility and accountability. A chore chart is an easy way to get the kids engaged with keeping house.

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Babysitter Info Sheet

Keep important info for the babysitter on a handy dry erase laminated template. Your evening plans change, simply change the chart.

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Home Tags and Labels

Sticker tags peel off over time. Laminated tags attach with a loop like luggage and always tell you what’s inside that big box in the closet without bringing it down.

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Grocery List

Are you writing your shopping list on the back of old junk mail? Here is a more organized approach. Pin the dry erase grocery list to the fridge and fill it up over the week. When you go shopping, take it with you. Dry erase when all the groceries are put away!

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