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How Everyone in Leeds Can Learn to Become More Sustainable

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | How Everyone in Leeds Can Learn to Become More SustainableThe choices that you make on a day to day basis can affect the environment around you. It’s true that this isn’t new information, but some people may find it hard to adopt a more sustainable option, especially since you are always surrounded by plastic, use cars as a mode of transportation, rely on electricity and so on.

For everyone to learn how to become more sustainable, they need to change some of their daily habits. Whether it’s saving energy, finding different modes of transportation, reducing, reusing and recycling, and adopting sustainable fashion options, there is always something that you can do.

Save Energy at Home

Turning off the lights when they are no longer in use, embracing natural light during the day and finding a more environmentally friendly light bulb are all ways that you can save energy within the home and even save money on your monthly electricity bill at the same time.

Nowadays, there are more solar powered alternatives that you can purchase than ever, and these can further help you lower your carbon footprint.

Modes of Transportation

Often the car is the go-to mode of transportation for people depending on where you live, but have you ever thought about some of the alternatives?

Biking is not only good for the environment but it’s healthy and taking the bus or train to where you need to go will also allow you to save money on petrol or diesel. Plus, public transportation gives you an opportunity to read a book while you are on the journey!

If you live close enough to your workplace or are even nearby your local supermarket, you could walk to your destination. If the weather is nice, why not?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, reuse and recycle are the three R’s that everyone should live by. Already, the world’s landfills are overflowing, and plastic is often winding up in the ocean. The three R’s is part of the answer to this problem.

There are companies that you can call to assist with your waste management, no matter where you are located in the UK. Additionally, some companies will ensure they don’t take the rubbish to landfills, but rather minimise the environmental impact of your waste disposal needs.

Sustainable Fashion

Many adopt a ‘fast-fashion’ mentality, but sustainable fashion is so much better for you and the environment alike. The next time you want to purchase a new garment to add to your wardrobe, why not visit a charity shop or a vintage shop to see what you could find? You will not only end up buying something unique, but you know that you are also purchasing something that is high quality and long-lasting.

The big underlying question could be, why should everyone care about adopting the sustainable option? The fact of the matter is, the choices that you make now will not only affect your life but the future generations as well. That is why adopting an eco-friendlier lifestyle will benefit everyone, and the good news is that you can always start small, such as some of the tips mentioned thus far.

 

7 Security Tips From Experts That Anyone Can Use

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | 7 Security Tips From Experts That Anyone Can UseIt is not uncommon for celebrities and high-profile business people to travel with their own personal security details. The rest of us picture buff men clad in crisp black suits and headsets whenever we think of such security detail.

However, the day-to-day for the professionals in this line of work is far from that of the “Men In Black.” According to body guard school PWA it is the opposite of what many people believe these professionals do. Much of the work is in the preparation.

Many of the tactics that bodyguards use are adoptable by different travelers and we’ve taken a look at how they can be utilised below.

1. Always Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Staying safe is often tied to being aware of your surroundings. Situational awareness is essential, more so when in unfamiliar places. Avoid walking while glued to a map or your phone.

The pros say that the more you clank and clunk, stumbling as you walk, you appear like prey, thus inviting predators to have enough time to come up with a quick plan.

2. Avoid Making Yourself An Easy Target

Dawning a T-shirt and baseball cap shouts that you are a tourist. Moreover, you will make yourself a target when walking around carrying a purse or your wallet in the back pocket. Instead, do your best to blend in; secure your valuables by opting to carry a cross-body bag and putting your wallet in a buttoned-up or zipped breast pocket. Also, consider neutral clothing that does not advertise your nationality.

According to PWA most criminals look at the path with the least resistance.

3. Plan Ahead

It would be best if you planned in advance; that is how you will be more aware of potential threats specific to your destination. Set your transportation early, for it also can help you avoid potentially predatory situations from the moment you arrive.

4. Ask Locals About Their Preferences

Hopping on the local bus might be the preferable and safe way of getting around in one city but not recommended in another. Every place has its risks; The experts say they works closely with different local partners to get suitable recommendations on the safe places to go and the best ways to get there

5. Share Less On Social Media

An Instagram post every other time during your vacation might be hard to say no to, but it is an effective way of advertising that you are away from home. For instance, Hillary Duff posted photos on vacation in Canada, and what followed was a break-in at her home. It only goes to show that snapshots shared on social media pose a significant risk to all travelers.

6. Secure Your Technology

Protect any technology devices in a locked safe. Avoid using public hotspots that can be easily hacked. Porter says that you should always have physical control of your computer, smartphone, and other equipment.

7. Carry A Burner Wallet

Muggings can happen even to the most cautious of travelers. According to PWA consider walking around with a “burner wallet” with an old ID and a few dollars if you are unfortunate enough to be assault during your travels.

Why You Should Start Estate Planning Today

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Why You Should Start Estate Planning TodayAt some point in your life, you’ve likely thought about what would happen to everything you own should you become incapacitated or experience death. These are not easy thoughts to have, but they are natural as death eventually impacts everyone. Planning ahead is important in order to make sure your assets are dispersed in the way you intended. You’ll want to make sure your legacy lives on through the people and charitable organizations that are important to you. An estate plan is an important plan to have at any stage in life. The more likely it is you have people in your life that may contest your wishes, the more important it is to work with an attorney to make sure your estate plan WORKS.

The Importance of an Estate Plan

A recent survey revealed only 4 in 10 Americans have an estate plan or will. As people get older, they are more likely to have a plan in place, but it still hovers around half. This is surprising given estate planning is important even when you’re young, especially if you have equity in cash accounts or real estate, or if you have young children. Accidents cannot be predicted and nobody knows how long their lives will be. If you were gone tomorrow, what would happen to your home, your bank accounts, and even your children?

Without an estate plan, upon your passing, your possessions would be dispersed based on the laws of your state. If you have young children but no spouse, or if you and your spouse should become deceased at the same time, the state would have to decide who cares for them. And if you were to become too ill to manage your money or make decisions regarding your care, a judge could be required to make the decision of who manages your bills and estate on your behalf. Not having an estate plan could leave your estate in chaos, vulnerable to claims by any blood relatives, some of whom you may not have been in contact with for years. Is that how you want to be remembered?

Not only is it costly to let the courts determine how your estate will be divided, it is time consuming and very public. It could take years for your rightful heirs to be identified and by then close relationships could be damaged forever. Creditors would also be able to access information related to the courts probate and could challenge it as well. As your estate remains in probate and creditors stake claim to pieces of it, the value of your estate dwindles.

An estate plan protects the people you love, who are the rightful heirs, and it allows your estate to pass on in private. Having a plan in place will also ensure your gift of inheritance is taxed as little as possible. The IRS will be more than happy to stake claim to part of your estate if no heirs have been identified by you personally.

The Pieces of Your Estate Plan

A solid estate plan is not an easy task to complete. It will require thoughtfulness on your part, and the assistance of an attorney to ensure it cannot be challenged later. Your estate plan should consist of the following important pieces:

  • A trust will hold property so that probate is avoided. That is, if it is set up correctly.
  • Your will will designate your heirs and how your estate is dispersed. If your estate is large, this could also include charitable beneficiaries.
  • A letter detailing your funerary wishes and disbursement of any smaller personal items of sentimental value.
  • A designated durable power of attorney should be someone you trust to take care of your estate and health decisions should you become incapacitated. This person should have knowledge of your health care wishes related to life and death decisions, which should also be included in a living will.
  • Keep a list of your assets and make sure your executor knows where to find it. This list should include any investment accounts, bank accounts, insurance policies and physical assets and real estate.

Who Should You Choose as a Durable Power of Attorney?

The person you choose to manage your estate does not have to be a relative. It can be a trusted friend. If you’re afraid of one person abusing your monetary accounts, a good idea is to designate a joint durable power of attorney. This way, two people you trust can ensure everything is managed honestly and as you would have wished.

Make sure that not only your attorney has a copy of your DPA, but also your financial institutions. Your bank may even have their own forms you’ll need to complete, so be sure to talk with your bank manager in advance regarding what they might require.

It’s important to know as much as possible about laws in your state as you plan your estate. For more estate planning information visit finitylaw.com’s resource hub.

The components of your estate planning are important pieces of your portfolio. You may change your plan through the years, as many people do and that’s fine, but it’s better to have a plan than no plan. Work through the process with your attorney and let your loved ones know when your estate planning has been completed. Having this knowledge beforehand will ease any panic should you pass and allow your heirs to focus on celebrating the life you lived rather than feeling overwhelmed with questions regarding what happens next.

Maximum Returns for Minimal Effort: 4 Great Time Management Tips

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals | Maximum Returns for Minimal Effort: 4 Great Time Management TipsWhether you work in an office building or from home, staying on task can be difficult. The distractions may vary – a barking dog versus a chatty coworker – but they’re still there.

If you’re your own boss, it can be even more difficult to manage your time because no one is there to keep you in check. What can you do to get your work done in a timely manner, so you’re not working 24 hours a day?

Online business blogs, such as bullpreneur, provide resources for new and veteran business owners alike.

Wasting Time is Wasting Money

If you’re the owner of a company with employees, their wasted time is your wasted money. Not only is the work not getting done, you’re paying them for their time regardless.

If, on the other hand, you’re the be-all of a company, you’re cheating yourself. If you’re not working, you’re not making valuable connections, keeping up on your industry, or bringing in money.

With the ease of social media at your fingertips, it can be difficult not to fall into an internet rabbit hole instead of working. What can you do to get your employees – and yourself – to stay focused during work hours?

4 Ways to Manage Your Time Better

The internet isn’t the only time suck. Watercooler chats, personal phone calls, television… The list is endless. If you don’t find a way to break the habit, your work to-do list will also be endless.

Here are 4 great time management tips to follow:

1. Eliminate your distractions. No cellphones in the work area is the first step to removing distractions. Of course, that’s not so easy if you’re the boss and disregard your own rule. Making your workspace clutter-free and electronic-free can boost your productivity.

2. Plan out your workday. If you start your workday without some semblance of a plan, you’ll end up wasting time figuring out what to do. Before you leave for the day, make a list of things that need to be done the next day. It will cut back on the time you spend trying to get started each day.

3. Complete the most pressing projects first. That list you wrote at the end of the day will also come in handy when it’s time to figure out what to do first. Focusing on one task at a time helps prevent you from getting overwhelmed. There’s also a sense of satisfaction in crossing an item off the list once it’s completed.

4. Track your productivity. If you or your employees need more strict guidance, a time tracking tool installed on the work devices can help accountability. Of course, there are tons of time management apps, making it difficult to sort out the best. Forbes lists eight of the most helpful time tracking apps.

Taking Frequent Breaks Can Increase Productivity

It may seem counterproductive to take breaks to get your work done. But taking a short break can help you mentally recharge and sharpen your focus once you return to your tasks.

What staff can do to help boost agency profits

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | What staff can do to help boost agency profitsWorking in an agency can be a fantastic experience, but unless you work in sales or account management it can feel like there isn’t much you can do to help the company achieve better profits. Actually this doesn’t have to be the case at all, and there is plenty that you can do help your company be more of a success financially.

Make yourself accountable

There can be a problem at all levels of agencies where members of staff do not feel like they are accountable for the success of the company. In fact, everyone at the business has a role to play in ensuring the success of the organisation, and it is up to individuals to make themselves accountable to this fact.

For managers, the issue may be that there is no one to check to make sure they are accountable to the things they say they are going to do. For other members of staff, they may not feel that what they do can have a financial impact. However, as we will see, this is not true.

Find cost savings

There is a misconception around company profits with members of staff, and this is that the easiest way to boost them is by making more money. Of course, no-one is doubting this as a concept, but it hides the fact that there are other opportunities. One of the most important ways that you, as an employee, can improve your company profits is by spending less money.

If you can find cost savings in your department or your role, those savings act as pure profit for the company. That is money that was being spent before and is now no longer being spent. Consider where you and your department spends its money and look for ways you can reduce it.

Provide management with ideas and information

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are the person who does your job every day, which means that you understand it better than anyone else in the company. That means those things that might seem completely obvious to you, may also be completely obscured to those in management. This puts the onus on you to provide your management with any ideas and information that could help you do your job, or help the business succeed.

Often it is the day-to-day activities that actually make the biggest difference to a business’ bottom line. So don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on matters, good management will find it extremely valuable.

Be dedicated and go the extra mile

No matter what your job entails you have options with how you perform it. You can go through the day doing the bare minimum, or you can actually show hard work and dedication. Businesses love engaged staff and it is not just because this means more productive employees – when you show your dedication to the business you are showing your potential for the future.

This means that being that person who goes the extra is not only a great benefit to the company, it also provides you with far better career prospects.

Request training that you’ll actually benefit from

Ask yourself: how many times have you been on a training course where there really doesn’t seem to be much point at all to it? Too often when businesses provide training, they are have actually just followed the ideas of someone who doesn’t really understand what will be a benefit to your team.

Instead you should be proactive. Talk to your manager about the kind of training that you would actually benefit from. Once again this will pay dividends in that you will get the training that can help the business, but it will also provide you with valuable tools and skills to make it easier for you to advance your career.

“One of the biggest issues I see in owner-managed agencies is the gulf in understanding between top managers and their employees/managers. If you hope to bridge this gap, you have to invest in training your future leaders.”

Da Costa Coaching

Stop overservicing

Interesting details from the State of Agency Workflow Management report revealed that nearly half of all agencies revealed a loss of 11% due to overservicing. Overservicing is a term that means that those agencies were delivering work for clients that they were not getting paid for – and that is a major problem.

The old adage ‘time is money’ is never more appropriate than when talking about agencies, and if you are spending your time doing work that no-one is paying you for, then you are wasting both your time and your money.