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Ways to Outline and Focus on Your Writing

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No matter how long you’ve been writing, getting started or finishing can be challenging. Professional writers still get writer’s block or freeze up when looking at a blank page, despite their years of training. Even if you just want to write to express your feelings, it still takes discipline to put words on a page. If you want to become a more productive writer, here are some tips that help get the job done.

Writing Time

It is not really a surprise to find out that most writers write in the morning or at a time when their energy level is at their peak.  Writing time differs from writer to writer, but many of them dismissed the notion of setting aside a specific amount of time to write. Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman for example said that he spends time writing a page and a half before launching into his work day. The words don’t have to be about your project or book. It can be about anything. The idea here is to get your mental gears going. Think of it as a warm-up before a workout.

Detailed Outline

Creating a detailed outline sounds like something you did for your high school research paper, but it helps get ideas flowing. Journalist Shane Snow shares that he breaks down his writing into smaller pieces, whether it’s a short article or a full novel. He says that writers get a psychological reward from tackling smaller pieces of a big project. Breaking down work also keeps you motivated to move forward.

Always Be Ready

Sometimes inspiration sparks out of the blue and words spurt out. When this happens, you have to be prepared. Sarah Wendell, author of a widely followed romance blog, says that “word labor”, an experience she links to having children, can strike anywhere, and her mind suddenly bursts with words that need to be written. When this happens, she stops whatever it is she is doing and takes out her phone or a notepad and starts writing.

Social Media

The internet is widely used by authors and writers for research. It is a good tool to have around, but can be distracting, especially with social media. Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors author Sarah Stodola shuts down social media completely by using a tool called Freedom.

The Right Place

Finding the right place to write is essential if you want to get your writing done. Shane Snow says that for his book Smartcuts, he got the bulk of his writing done in a corner table at a Starbucks. Author Joanna Penn also shares that she finds it easier to write in coffee shops compared to her apartment. Environment is critical when you want to write. Find a place where it is easy for you to concentrate so that you can write more.

Hopefully these writing “hacks” will get you in the mood to write. Getting started and finishing is an ongoing battle, but having plans to help you fight along the way can make the job a bit easier.

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Business

Home Office Safety Tips

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Here’s some home office safety tips. In today’s digital world more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home. The employees can increase their productivity when they do not need to commute daily. The only requirement is an internet connection. However, there come some security issues with this freedom and flexibility. You need to create a safe home office environment to reap the benefits of telecommuting.

Security of sensitive data (Home Office Safety)

Cyber security is a big concern for the business houses as more and more people are electing the ‘work from home’ option for freedom and flexibility. It is vital to work from a secured Wi-Fi connection to keep all the sensitive data away from the prying eyes. The companies provide VPN access to its employees, but if someone hacks the home Wi-fi connection or public hotspot, your data could be compromised. Make sure you secure your sensitive data to have proper home office safety.

So, you need to be extra cautious about other devices connected to your wi-fi. You should also invest in a robust anti-virus software. Do not let your family members use your work laptop. You should always follow the company policy of accessing the company network remotely. Your computer should have up-to-date operating systems, antivirus software and regular scanning programs. You should take extra care about storing office files and backup. The storing location should be approved and accessible by your company.

Workstation safety

Many organizations ask their employees to read and sign a telework agreement. These agreements clearly mention the home safely checklist. People who want to telecommute must have a separate and secure workstation. The work area should be peaceful and quiet. Your desk height and chair should be proper. You cannot work for longer periods if your table and chair are not comfortable. Your back should be adequately supported. Floors should be dry and free of hazards. You must also keep a first aid kit at your workplace. To avoid fire hazards, there should be more than one exit. You should keep a fire extinguisher too. The workspace should be free of clutter and trash. You should keep your work devices far from flammable items. Your office furniture and equipment should be ergonomically correct. Your table should have enough space for computer, printer, document holder, and phone.

Electrical safety

In recent years, computer-related accidents and falls have increased quite a bit. Experts suggest placing the computer or any other work devices away from the edges of desks. You need to organize and secure the open wires to avoid tripping over them. You should install safety covers on unused electrical outlets. You should keep your computer equipment connected to a surge protector. You should not keep any damaged or exposed wiring. Avoid use of extension cords. Keep the electrical plugs and panels in good condition.

The employer often overlooks the health and safety issues of a telecommuter. The teleworkers should have a proper understanding of the hazards of working alone at home. There should be a safety surveillance program to check the ‘work-at-home’ arrangement. Monitoring the safety of every telecommuter is difficult for the company, but they can provide proper safety guidelines to every teleworker. The employees can do self-inspections and send in regular reports to the company HR department.

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Business

How To Get Rid Of Office Gossip

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Office gossip is a negativity that affects almost every office. No company encourages rumor or gossip, but it is present everywhere. A little gossip is not that harmful. However, rumors and gossip can cast a spell of mistrust among employees. Handling harmful gossip can be difficult for managers. It is not very comfortable for them to bring the issue into the daylight. As a leader, you should control the gossip and let your employees know the actual situation. Here are some ways to get rid of the continuous flow of gossip.

Do not take work gossip to heart

In most of the cases, office gossip is deliberately created to spread malicious nonsense. Some people want to create a sense of fear and insecurity in the minds of the employees. So, you should not take the rumors personally or defensively. The management of the company should take strong actions against spreading false stories. Focus on the present and try to find the reason behind the rapid growth of gossip inside the company. You should try to deal with issue objectively avoiding all kinds of personal attacks.

Do not participate in any kinds of gossip

As a management head or a team lead, you should not participate in any kind of gossip inside the office premises. It would be a wrong signal for your subordinates. Do not belittle yourself in front of the employees of the company. Try to keep a distance from the groups who believe in big talks. Be aware of all the happenings in the company. Keep the facts ready to assure your team when they are in doubt. Motivate your team to stay away from the gossip mills.  

Get your facts right

You know you need to stop the flow of gossip and rumors to keep the office environment professional. Before you can act, you should know the true facts. Try to know where the office gossip started. Ask the team leads and departmental managers what they have heard. You should maintain an easy relationship with them. They can come and speak freely to you. It would be easier for you to fathom how much the gossip have spread and who are behind the wall.

Address the problem frankly

The first step to stopping the gossip is directly talking to the person who is spreading it. You should always remember that there are other people too who are indirectly related to it. There are some people who always believe the story and are responsible for spreading it in no time. So, as a leader of your company you need to address the entire team and if it is a very serious issue you need to address the entire company. If your employees are concerned about certain issues, answer them frankly. You can keep a suggestion box where your employees can post anything anonymously. If their identity is protected, they will cooperate with you to get rid of the harmful rumors spreading inside the company.

Make it a company policy to prevent gossip

It is important to draft a strong policy against spreading of rumors. All the employees should know how creating negative stories about the company will be treated. Provide them with examples how to keep the office environment free from rumors. Tell them how to curb negative interaction and discourage gossip-lovers.

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Camden

First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ

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Penji

First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ

Penji is a new tech startup who recently launched in Camden NJ. Instead of having costly all-inclusive packages that design agencies typically offer, Penji offers unlimited graphic design, unlimited revisions, at a flat monthly rate. The startup launched on October 21st 2017, a day after Camden Catalyst, a startup pitch competition hosted by Waterfront Ventures to bring startups into the city.

camden nj

 

Penji solves a unique problem that startups, small businesses, and agencies tend to have. According to Penji, startups and small business owners spend too much of their time attempting to design their own marketing materials, logos, business cards, etc. And even if they hire a company or a freelancer to help them, it often costs quite a bit more than they originally thought. 

” It’s a huge time waster. And that’s why we created Penji, to solve that graphic design problem for startups and small businesses.” – Johnathan Grzybowski (Cofounder)

Penji’s unique mission

Penji also has a unique mission. The startup plans to be one of the first community conscious startups to plant their flag in Camden NJ. For Penji, being a community conscious startup means giving back to their community on a consistent basis and in ways that truly helps their community. The startup plans to offer jobs and opportunities specifically for students and residents in Camden. Their goal is to hire as many talents as they can from the city with the hope of keeping those talents in Camden. Camden is home to major school institutions such as Rutgers, Rowan, Camden County, and Cooper. Despite having these big names investing in the city, few job opportunities currently exist for students graduating from any of these 4 colleges.

“The only way to successfully revitalize Camden sustainably is if our students are willing to stay in the city and invest in the city themselves. And they can only do that if there are good paying jobs available in Camden. Currently there aren’t many available, and we plan to change that.”- Khai Tran

Penji

The startup already hired 4 students from Camden and have plans to hire more as they grow in Camden. Things are definitely looking up for Camden NJ as the interests for startups are growing from surrounding cities. The Camden city has been struggling with bringing in new businesses for the past few decades and many efforts have been put forth to revitalize the city. Things may be different this time around if enough startup companies join Penji in Camden and invest in the city.

Melissa Le (office manager of Waterfront Lab, Camden’s very own co-working space) is optimistic that Camden will be revitalized this time around.

“We’re feeling good about Camden’s revitalization and we know it will be successful if enough key industries get involved. Having major companies such as American Water, Holtec, and Subaru is a great start, however we need more interests from startups and small businesses to make Camden’s growth sustainable.”

 

 

 

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