Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.

 

4 Reasons Why You Need to Be More Safety-Conscious

Are you safe? Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t as safe as they think. In 2014, 136,000 Americans died accidentally, according to the American Safety Council. Accidental overdoses have overtaken car crashes as the No. 1 killer of Americans, and deaths from falls are up 63 percent over the last decade due to an aging population. Meanwhile, one in 36 U.S. homes will be burglarized this year, according to FBI data. And a record 15.4 million U.S. consumers became victims of identity theft last year, a Javelin Strategy & Research report found.

Safety risks lurk everywhere. Fortunately, taking proactive steps can mitigate the most common safety threats. Here are reasons why you should be more safety-conscious, along with some tips to help you stay safe:

Reasons to Be Safety-Conscious

The first reason to be more safety-conscious is to protect your health. Many American have unsafe dietary habits - let's take a look at some numbers:

One in five adults failing to eat vegetables every day, and four in 10 neglect to eat fruit daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Half of U.S. adults don’t get enough aerobic exercise, says the Department of Health and Human Services.

As a result of these and other poor health habits, one in three Americans has at least one cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Exercism

Second, poor health and safety habits also hit you in the pocketbook, which is another reason to adopt safe behaviors. Obese people pay $1,400 more per year for medical care than healthy people, a study published in Health Affairs found. The average hospital cost of a fall injury is $30,000, reported a study published in the Journal of Safety Research. The average cost of being hit by identity theft is $1,343, according to the Department of Justice.

The third reason to be more safety-conscious is insurance. High-risk lifestyles and behaviors can raise your insurance rates, while being more safety-conscious can lower them. For instance, insurers allow companies that have wellness programs the option of offering up to 30 percent discounts as incentives.

A fourth reason to be more safety-conscious is to gain peace of mind. Not only will you feel less stress, but you will be helping your physical and mental health, as well as your financial health. As much as eight percent of healthcare costs stem from stress, according to Harvard Business School professor Joel Goh.

Tips for Staying Safe

Health: Staying safety-conscious starts with following safer health habits. The American Heart Association recommends a healthy diet and exercise as the best prevention against cardiovascular disease. To maintain weight, use up at least as many calories as you take in; to lose weight, use up more calories than you consume. Eat a balanced diet from all the food groups, including fruits and vegetables, avoiding trans and saturated fat, and sweets. Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity in each week. If you need to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity three to four times a week. Schedule regular preventive screenings to intercept potential problems early.

Money: To keep your finances safe, avoid giving out your Social Security number, health care information, and other personal information when it’s not needed, recommends the U.S. government’s identity theft protection page. Pick up your mail promptly, and ask the post office to hold your mail if you’ll be away for a while. Review monthly credit statements and check your credit report once a year to watch for unauthorized activity. Use firewalls, anti-virus software, and secure connections when going online, and only use HTTPS-protected sites for online financial transactions.

Home: To keep your home safe, Allstate recommends you change your locks when moving into a new home, and make sure all doors have deadbolts. Take steps to make your home look occupied when you’re not home, such as leaving a car in the driveway or leaving a loud radio on. Install motion-activated lights and alarms, and consider timers or home automation to give the impression that someone is home. Set up video surveillance cameras to identify intruders. The best surveillance cameras from providers such as Lorex have high-definition resolution with night vision so that you can capture suspect details such as hair and eye color even in low-light conditions. Install fire and smoke alarms, and check the batteries regularly.

These are just some examples of the risks and countermeasures available to you. Sometimes, it helps to think like an auditor and try to look objectively at your habits, surroundings, and so forth - if you always operate out of habit, you can overlook the risks. What about you - do you have any tips to share on this topic?

The Grad's Ultimate Guide for Writing a CV / Résumé

 Donna Moores

Donna Moores

I recently met Donna Moores, who is a professional recruiter and writer. She spends her time trying to help people find their dream job, and has spent more than 5 years learning outstanding HR principles in large industries and businesses.

Donna has a cool infographic designed to help graduates as they seek to market themselves in the world, and has been kind enough to share that with us, along with an introduction (below). To find out more about Donna, you can follow her on FaceBook and check out her Professional Blog.

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Job-seeking was never an easy business, especially for graduates. Lack of experience and knowledge plays a huge role when it comes to applying for a first job. The question is - how can someone prepare oneself to meet the criteria set by employers?

To answer this, we need to look back at the common misconceptions that College and University graduates have about their first job-seeking experience.

First off, there is a discord between the perception of one's skillset and the requirements set by companies and institutions. While college graduates tend to think that their Academy prepared them well for their first job experience, the truth is far from that.

Just the fact of having a diploma does not set your bar higher automatically. As suggested by the latest interviews with HR experts, grads do struggle with identifying their own skillset properly. Academic experience helps you boost your critical thinking, research and communication skills; but that's never enough to outmatch the competition and get the job of your dreams.

When it comes to building up your own job-seeker profile, there is a lot of advice to consider. Lateral thinking and creativity are needed to get your resume to "sell".

If you are a graduate you might find yourself in a similar situation. The convocation is over and now it's time to get some real-world practice. How to keep it up?

HandMadeWritings prepared a stunningly practical "how to" material on this topic. The Grad's Guide to Writing a CV includes best practices, common mistakes and helpful advice from HR professionals, backed up with statistical data. It might serve as a roadmap for any graduate, seeking for their first successful employment.

Spotlight On Depression In Older Adults

If you know someone who's aging and struggling with depression, Juno Medical has some good guidance on how to help them.

Starting with the signs, here are some things to look for to determine whether depression may be a factor:

  • loss of interest in activities that they would normally enjoy and inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks
  • loss of energy, change in appetite; different sleeping patterns; anxiety; reduced concentration; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • depression among older people is often associated with physical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Life events, such as losing a partner; and a reduced ability to do things that were possible when younger, may also contribute to depression.

As for helping, this infographic provides some guidance.

If you'd like to find out more, visit Juno Medical's site about depression in older adults.

4 Ways to Stay Productive and Healthy While Working from Home

We've come a long way with technology through the years, so much so that it has given many people the flexibility to work from home. The ability to challenge the status quo of traditional office jobs lures many of us to regularly take advantage of this “perk.” At the same time, this work-from-home capability can negatively impact both productivity levels and our overall health. For example, the desire to wander off and mindlessly snack throughout the day, or the tendency to stay holed up in the house far into the evening hours can become a regular occurrence.

How do we make sure our home serves as both an escape from work and one that encourages increased productivity and an overall positive state of well-being? It’s all about finding the right balance between work and play. By incorporating the simple tips below, you’ll be on the right track for staying healthy and productive the next time you’re working from home. 

1. Get plenty of sleep 

We’ve all heard  a lot about the overall health benefits of good sleep. But did you know that according to the RAND research group, the U.S. loses $411 billion each year because of poor productivity due to lack of sleep? In fact, not only is our production impacted, but frequent sleep deprivation can affect our brains in more negative ways than you would think. 

For one, there is a strong connection between lack of sleep and depression. Studies have shown that people who have insomnia are more likely to be both depressed and anxious. Additionally, a good night’s sleep can help prevent the buildup of toxins attributed to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease - ostensibly, these toxins are flushed by the body when we get a decent amount of shut-eye. 

Set yourself up for success from both a work-from-home and a general well-being standpoint by getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Better yet, incorporate the tech aids I've discussed in the past into your routine for an even better slumber. 

2. Invest in the right equipment

If you're anything like me, your computer may be your single most-used piece of equipment during the work day, so make sure it helps you achieve maximum productivity. Do your research and invest in a quality laptop that will allow you to get the job done, especially if you’re working as an entrepreneur or freelancer. Take into consideration key factors like cybersecurity and storage space, both of which you’ll find on laptops like HP's business laptops. It just so happens that 2016 was a record-breaking year for the number of data breaches, so it’s now more important than ever to ensure that your work is always protected. 

If you like to store your information and business files on your laptop, you'd better have backups. Purchase an external hard drive and rent cloud storage to ensure that you’ll have access to your files even if you do experience a tech emergency. Online storage options like Dropbox and Google Drive can provide the necessary backups for one-person businesses or small-business solutions. 

3. Wake up earlier

Some may find it difficult to fully wake up without hitting the snooze button a few times, but this new study may have you rolling out of bed as early as you can. According to Science Daily,  "morning people" tend to make smarter, healthier decisions when it comes to food. 

Not only do our biological clocks influence when we wake up, they also impact our metabolism. By rising early, participants in a recent research study ate a healthier breakfast and continued to make smarter food choices throughout the day unlike their night owl opposites. 

If the thought of waking up earlier is still a little daunting to you, actively attempt to go to bed earlier in the night to make the sound of your alarm just a bit less jarring. If you're an iPhone user, take advantage of iOS 10's "bedtime" feature that reminds you when it's time to go to bed so you get enough sleep before your target bedtime.

4. Make your workspace gadget-free

Our mobile devices and other tech gadgets have grown to become an extension of ourselves in the past decade, amplifying their potential to become never-ending distractions. Whether it’s a phone call from mom, a notification that someone liked your Instagram photo, or even the cheerful ring indicating you’ve just received a text, cell phones and other always-on tech can negatively impact our productivity. 

To solve the problem of being sidetracked by notifications, consider making your workspace a gadget-free area. The average person checks their phone around 110 times per day, so imagine how much time you’d have to get your work done if you didn’t waste it doing just that.

Many phones have "Do not disturb" features that can help by silencing alert and incoming messages. This is very useful, especially if you're about to dig into a project that requires deep concentration.

What about you - do you have any techniques of your own that help you stay healthy and productive while working from home? Share in the comments below! 

Diet Trumps Exercise

In the past, I've shared how I lost 50 pounds in 6 months. The techniques there have served me well.

However, this last year, I've gotten a bit lax in the diet department, and noticed that I'd put some of the weight back on. I was no longer following a specific plan, and wasn't logging my meals any more. When I initially got serious about getting back in shape again, I tried to compensate by exercising more. After several months of this approach, I really wasn't making any progress on getting the weight off again.

I decided to go back to what I know (as explained in the post linked above), with some basic goals:

  • exercise at least 3 times per week.
  • consume calories at or below my daily target to maintain my goal weight
  • lose at least a pound a week until I reach "steady state" at this new calorie level

Sure enough, I started noticing progress pretty quickly. I'm not on track to get my weight back to where I want it in the next few weeks. It is clear, from my experience, that diet and exercise together can help you meet your fitness goals (duh, right?)

However, if you can only do one of those things, you'll probably see the most benefit from paying attention to your diet. In my opinion, this is because I might skip a day or two of exercise, but I never skip a day or two of eating - and slow & steady wins the race, for sure.