What to Know When Designing a Home Plan

The construction of your dream home may be a process that you have eagerly looked forward to for many months or even years, but before the construction can begin, you will need to develop a winning design that meets all of your needs. When you think about home design, you may initially think about the beauty and style of the home. While this is important, the functionality of the plan is also critical. After all, this is a space where you and your loved ones may live for years to come, and the functionality of the design can impact everything from convenience and comfort to storage and more. When you are designing your new home plan, think about these important factors.

How You Live
A home design should be a representation of who you are from a style standpoint, and the design will also reflect your lifestyle. For example, if you normally entertain outdoors, your design may have large sliding doors or bay windows in the rear of the home as well as a gorgeous outdoor living area that enables you to entertain as desired. It may also have an open, flowing floor plan that connects the living room and kitchen together. If you work from home, you may have a home study. Those who have younger kids at home may prefer to have all of the bedrooms on one level of the home. These are only a few of the practical considerations to take into account when creating a home design plan for your new custom home.

Room to Grow
When you make the effort to design a dream home, you may have plans to remain in the home for many years or even decades. Because of this, you may consider thinking ahead while creating a plan. For example, if you have younger kids, you may find it desirable to have all of the bedrooms located close together, but this is often not an ideal plan for homes with teenagers. A functional plan may place the rooms on the same level with the master bedroom removed from the other bedrooms. If you believe your in-laws may need to move in with you in a few years, you may create a plan with a second master bedroom area. Storage space is also important when creating a home plan, and you may take inventory of the amount of space you currently need. Then, plan ahead by creating more storage space than you currently need.

These practical considerations can help you to create a home plan that you will truly love and that gives you space that is both beautiful and functional. You may work with a designer or architect to finalize your home design plans.

High-Intensity Interval Training: 10 Amazing Benefits to Gain

One: Better Oxygen Transmission in the Lungs

To increase oxygen transmission, begin a high-intensity interval-training program. Additional oxygen in the lungs improves energy levels and brain functions. With only 20 minutes of exercise a day, your will begin to feel results in just a few weeks.

Two: No Expensive Equipment to Buy

It isn’t necessary to buy expensive treadmills or elliptical machines to engage in interval training because you can combine walking with running or bicycle riding with swimming.

Three: Faster Weight Loss

By using interval training in the right way, you can lose weight quickly, especially in the first few weeks. To maximize weight loss, learn about the proper techniques to use such as the amount of time to exercise before switching to a different form of movement.

Four: Improved Insulin Resistance

If you are gaining weight, then your body has less insulin resistance, leading to a higher chance of developing diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a difficult condition to live with because it can cause circulatory, vision or kidney problems.

Five: Relieving Boredom while Exercising

Interval training offers a lot of variety, especially when you are willing to join a gym or buy equipment. One of the main reasons that people stop exercising is because of boredom, but with interval training, you are switching to different routines frequently.

Six: Regulating Hormone Levels

As you age, your hormone levels begin to change, leading to a loss of physical energy and cognitive abilities. High-intensity interval training can regulate the growth hormones and testosterone levels in your body, helping you to feel better on a daily basis.

Seven: Building More Muscle

If you do not like having flabby muscle tissue, then high-intensity interval training exercise is a great way to increase muscle mass. Within a few weeks, you will notice that your thighs and stomach are firmer. Toned muscles help to make you look thinner and healthier.

Eight: Improving Your Bone Density

A loss of bone density as you age can lead to fractures in the hips or legs, but with regular high-intensity interval training, your bones become stronger. Your bones are the foundation of your body, and by making these structures sturdier, your overall health will improve.

Nine: Healthier Mitochondria

Mitochondria are in most of the cells in your body and are responsible for converting the energy created by food into enzymes that increase metabolism. With an increased metabolism, your body converts food into energy instead of stored fat, leading to a leaner and healthier body.

Ten: More Self-Esteem

After a few weeks of high-intensity interval training, your body’s condition improves, making it easier to wear smaller clothing sizes. A thinner and healthier body leads to higher self-esteem.

Why There Are no “Wrong” ways to Generate Leads

Lead generation is how online companies generate interest or inquiries into their products or services. From a marketing standpoint, lead generation is the process of making contact with consumers in order to direct them or solicit a sale. While there are no wrong ways to generate leads, there are proven methods that deliver better results.

The Lead Generation Process
The lead generation process actually has four separate elements. First, landing pages are a web pages that are specially designed to catch the online consumer’s attention. They must be creative, persuasive and well-designed. Second, most landing pages use fillable forms that collect information in exchange for the third element, the offer. For example, an online school would require the user to fill out their basic personal information in order to learn more about the school and receive an exclusive offer. On the other hand, the form may simply ask for the users’ name and email address in order to register an account. The third element is the enticing offer that promises something of value in exchange for the submission of personal information. For instance, the most common offers include a free e-book, newsletter, information kit or exclusive content. Fourth, there is a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages the website visitor to take some sort of action.

How to Optimize a Landing Page
One of the best ways to optimize a landing page is through offering videos. This is especially beneficial because the majority of people are visual learners and respond better to pictures or videos. Next, landing pages that promise not to share users’ email accounts or send them spam will drastically reduce leads. Be sure to design the landing page so the call to action in in a conspicuous place. Online users shouldn’t have to squint or search for a call to action button or link. Keep in mind that offering users more choices actually creates more confusion. Instead, simply have one single call to action. If possible, streamline the process so that users can quickly access their offer, such as only requiring an email address in order to view video content.

How are Lead Prices Calculated?
Online advertising companies use three pricing models to calculate the cost of a lead. First, the cost per thousand model (CPM) uses pricing matrixes that charge advertisers for each consumer “impression.” That is, the aggregate number of times that consumers view the online ad. In fact, display advertising typically uses the CPM pricing models. However, the primary problem with this type of advertising is that advertisers are charged full price even if the target consumer does not view or click on the ad. The second type of pricing model is referred to as cost per click (CPC). This type of pricing model is unlike the CPM model because advertisers are only charged when the consumer clicks on the target ad. Nevertheless, because of increasing competition, search keywords are very expensive. The third type of pricing model is referred to as cost per action (CPA) advertising. This model is more efficient than the first two because it only charges for actual leads.

Overall, generating leads is one of the most important ways that online companies will attract customers. In order to improve the lead generation process, website owners should understand the lead generation process and how to optimize a landing page.

5 Inexpensive Ways to Advertise Your Business

Promotional and advertising costs can be very high and strenuous for a start-up or a business that is struggling with cash flows. This poses a dilemma because it’s important to advertise while at the same time break even for a company to bring desirable profits. It’s at this point that a manager needs to consider cheaper ways of advertising. Here are five inexpensive ways of promoting your business to keep your commodity relevant in the market.

1. Trial Offers

These trial offers run for one week to up to a month. If you’re aggressive enough, take advantage of these trial offers and get your product promotion achieved in just a month. Choose a trial offer that will add value to your product. The most popular companies that offer free trial services are eCommerce service Shopify, web hosting service- square space and email service Aweber.

2. Free tools for web based products

The free tools mostly apply for people who have web-based products. A good example is Google Analytics that has a whole spectrum of features to help track many aspects of your business. Another one is the Free Keyword tool that identifies the keyword that people use to search for you. Google drive, trello and mail chimp are also effective.

3. Social media and online self-publishing platforms

Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn are most of the overlooked ways of marketing a business. These methods could help promote your business during hard economic times or when you are starting a new venture. The other social media platform is blogging podcasting and self-publication. You could write about your product and publish them on low-cost blogs.

4. Offline promotional tools

In the digital age, most of the offline promotional methods have a tendency of being overlooked. Business cards and fliers can influence a wide audience when created in a professional and creative way. Classified section advertising is relatively cheaper when compared to other promotional methods since it entails paying minimal fees at the classified section of print publications.

5. Free giveaways

Everyone loves free gifts. Once you host a free giveaway online, you could attract a lot of responses. This method works effectively if you set clear goals and objectives for your business. The other way to get people to know about your product is by offering free entries to the free giveaway gifts on social media like on Facebook. How does this work? The more one shares the product and receives likes, the more they increase their chance for the free gifts.

Promoting your business when it’s young or undergoing significant cash flow imbalances can be a hectic task. However, by utilizing these five methods, you’ll draw customers at your doorstep without getting much out of your pocket.

Understanding Child Custody and Child Support Laws

In the past, each state has regulated child custody matters. During the last twenty years, many states adopted the same laws dictating child guardianship and support.

Types of Child Custody

Child custody is the legal guardianship a parent has of their child. Sole custody of a child does not always mean that the other parent will not be allowed to see the child. It means that one parent is the primary caretaker and has physical custody of the child(ren).

Sole custody can be granted to one parent, and the other parent has visitation rights. The parents will need to agree on and adhere to a visitation schedule. If the court rules that the other parent is unfit, then visitation is usually denied. “Unfit” behavior includes:

• Mental instability
• History of drug or alcohol abuse
• History of violent behavior

The child(ren) live with the parent that has been granted physical custody. If the court granted joint physical custody, the parents must agree on when and for how long the child will live with each of them. They may decide that the child will live with one parent during the school year and with the other parent during the summer. If the location of the school is not an issue, they could decide on six-month intervals, alternating months, are any arrangement they both deem to be fair.

Legal custody (guardianship) determines who makes the important decisions regarding the child, such as:
• Religious upbringing
• Medical care
• Education

With joint legal custody, both parents are responsible for making these decisions.

Child Support Guidelines

When considering child support amounts, some of the factors considered are:

• The income of the spouse paying child support, and the number of children
• Both parents’ incomes, and the number of children.
• Childcare expenses
• Healthcare costs
• The cost of visitation expenses

If the parents have been granted joint physical custody, the ruling may be that neither parent pays support to the other. In this case, they both share day-to-day expenses when the child is with them. Sometimes, however, if one parent’s income is significantly more than the other parent, they probably will be ordered to make payments. Also, the parents will need to agree on payments for expenses such as camp, clothing, and insurance.

When the parents share joint legal custody, the custodial parent still has the child-care expenses; therefore the other parent will probably be required to pay child support.

Who is responsible for paying for college expenses or trade school is determined by the state the parents live in and any agreement the parents may have about this matter.

If you need specific information about the laws in your state, you may want to consult an attorney.


Brain Training Exercises: 10 Games that Improve Memory

Our brains are muscles! Many people don’t realize this simple truth. This means that you can exercise your brain. If you are weak on memory, try these games to strengthen your memory. Your brain will be glad you gave it some time to head to the gym!

Chess is an excellent way to strengthen your memory. There are billions of possible outcomes for each game. You will need to remember past successes and failures to get better. The game can literally exercise your mind for an entire lifetime.

Great Scrabble play requires you to remember frequently used words that score the highest number of points. You will also have to remember new vocabulary! Ultimately, Scrabble is just a game of memorizing thousands of legal patterns. The fact that these patterns happen to match up with English letters that form words makes the game accessible.

Mastermind is a challenging board game where you need to decode a correct sequence of colors. Using only clues given to you after each attempt, you need to use your memory to crack the code in a fixed number of turns.

Successful bridge play is all about remembering what has already been played. Your memory will be increased by remembering the location of all of the different cards. Once you play, you will understand why it is considered the chess of card games.

The mystery board game Clue offers plenty of opportunity to strengthen your memory. Skilled players even attempt to play without using the little notebooks included in the game.

Yes, that old standby is an effective memory boosting game. Place cards face down, turn only two over at one time, and try to locate where all of them are in the fewest number of turns. This is a great solitaire game that can increase your memory.

This classic board game forces you to remember the identities of different pieces throughout the entire game. Place your army, hide your flag, boost your memory, and win the game!

This game with light patterns is a great memory coach.

Go is an ancient Chinese game that involves the placing of black and white stones on a large grid. As complex as chess, mastery of the game requires the memorization of hundreds of different patterns to consistently make the best move.

Blindfold Chess
Yes, we are mentioning chess one more time. Why? It is because you can actually attempt to play chess without seeing the pieces. It’s true! Many chess websites offer blindfold chess as a settings option. On a regular chess board, The blindfolded player simply calls out all of their moves using chess notation. This is the powerhouse of memory boosting games.



Vacationing off the Beaten Path

According to Forbes Magazine, the cost of the average American vacation is $4,580 for a four-person family. While that may sound like a lot of money for a trip that may only last for a week, getting off the beaten path can save you money and allow you and your family to see areas of the world without wading through throngs of tourists. Here are some ideas for getting off of the obvious road and finding the hidden gems on your next vacation.

Ask for Recommendations

Once you have a general idea of where you’d like to go, seek out personal stories and opinions about your destination. For example, if you’re going to Orlando, your coworker might know about a quaint little B&B that isn’t listed on the Internet while your cousin might tell you all about where to find a great romantic dinner for two. This will help you find the lesser-known hotspots and have a truly unique experience.

Plan to Travel Through Areas, Not Over

The Internet provides a ton of information on saving money and discovering the hidden gems of your destination. Those who want to find cheap flights to Australia should plan to fly into a large city at first and then arrange for alternative transportation to the area they’d like to visit. You’ll be able to schedule some time in the city you arrive in and then move through it on your way out, especially if you plan for leisurely travel. Tiny little shops and locally known must-see spots are easier to find if you’re moving through an area and ask the locals. By flying directly to your final destination, you could be missing out on a lot.

Consider a Travel Package

Sure, some travel packages are built for those who want a cookie-cutter experience, but there are plenty being offered for those who want to experience their destination as a local would. A good travel agent can find your packages offered for interests ranging from hiking and surfboarding to cenotes and catacombs. There are creepy tours, quirky tours and mixed tours that hit the highlights and high-volume attractions and mix them with off-the-beaten-path spots.

Plan for No Plan

Another excellent way to find hidden gems is to book your flights and a hotel for the first two nights, then make no other solid plans. Once you arrive in your destination, ask locals about attractions, restaurants, museums and sights you shouldn’t miss. The answers may surprise, delight and amaze you.

Traveling off the beaten path can be as simple or complex as you’d like. By keeping these tips in mind, you can see your destination for a viewpoint few other visitors get to experience.


Concertgoers: The Importance of Hearing Protection

Your hearing is one of the most valuable things you have. If you lose it, there’s no way to get it back.

Hearing loss can occur in a variety of ways, including from ways that can’t be prevented such as old age. One of the most common and preventable factors that contributes to hearing loss is exposure to prolonged loud noises, such as construction equipment, your lawn mower, and even concerts.

Concerts expose us to loud music, and we probably don’t think about how it’s affecting our hearing because hearing loss isn’t necessarily a painful process. It’s slow and happens without warning. How much risk we take damaging our hearing listening to music depends on several factors. At a concert, it depends on long you are exposed to the loud music, how close you are to the speakers, and how loud the music is.

Concerts can be an amazing time. The energy is intoxicating, and the band is probably someone you really enjoy listening to. There’s a sense of excitement and fun, and also a need to be cool. Wearing ear plugs at a concert might seem like a dorky thing to do, but it’s worth it to save your hearing. It might also seem like it’s counter intuitive. After all, you’re going to the concert to hear the music, if you’re wearing earplugs, won’t it block out the sound?

Honestly, it depends on the ear protection, but most concerts are loud enough that you’ll be able to hear the music without any problem. Yet, earplugs will help filter out certain sounds that can damage your hearing. Concerts generate 100 to 120 decibels of sound, and noise of more than 110 decibels can cause hearing damage in as little as two minutes. If a concert is 2 hours long, there’s more than likely going to be damage done to your hearing. Symptoms include ringing in your ears, pain, or temporary deafness. With prolonged exposure, these cannot be reversed.

Because your hearing is so important and because hearing loss is irreversible, musicians have been encouraging concertgoers to wear earplugs and even make them available at their concerts. In 2012, rapper Plan B and Chris Martin backed a campaign for earplugs and encouraged all concert goers to think about their hearing and protect it.

Hearing loss is a serious condition. However, with preventative measures, you can alleviate the threat altogether or stop it from getting worse. Wearing earplugs to a concert is a great way to help protect your hearing.


Workplace Incentives: Five Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Many studies show that paychecks are not the main thing that motivates employees. Most small business owners want to know what does motivate them. Rewards need to be both individual and group in order to foster personal achievement and teamwork. Below is a list of some ideas that have been supported by research and experience.
Set measurable goals, track progress and reward success
Employees like to have a very clear idea of success. They want to know what is expected and they generally want to meet those expectations. By having goal, employees can strive to do better, which is motivating. It may also start a little competition which healthy and fun. Reports, charts and bulletin boards that show progress keep employees motivated and very involved in the process.
Try motivating employees by getting them involved in the decisions that are made about their work. The easiest place to do this is to get employee input on strategic plans. Let them talk about what is working and what is not working and then incorporate their ideas into the plan. Let employees solve problems that come up in their work areas and directly affect them. Data shows that employee involvement increases morale and the quality of work.
Career path
A small business may not be able to have a career ladder, but can it create a career path. Provide employees the opportunity to work on new projects and learn new things. Delegate interesting and challenging tasks to employees. Pay for personal development and training. Make sure to provide coaching and mentoring so that employees are always growing. Employees report that they enjoy learning new things and getting new skills.

Incentives don’t have to be huge bonuses, although bonuses can be very effective when tied to goals and the accomplishment of goals. Start something unique and award a pie to a top performer every weeks. Buy gift cards and use them to reward the accomplishment of incremental goals. Employees like to be appreciated. Don’t forget that just routinely noticing good and work and then giving praise is a very powerful incentive in and of itself.
Create a good work culture
Create an environment of personal responsibility, respect and trust. Leaders must be the best examples of these values in order to create the culture. Don’t forget to have fun. Offer employees opportunities to laugh, take a break, and get involved in something fun. A great work environment scores high on the list of things that motivate employees.
If you are reading this article, that means you care about motivating your employees, which is half the battle. As a leader make sure your beliefs and values are communicated to employees and that your example is always true to your word.

Diversity in the Workplace: The Ultimate Growth Solution

Do you want your company to grow more rapidly in the years to come? The answer is diversity. Promoting diversity in your workplace is one of the best things you can do for your organization.
Organizations that are more diverse are far more innovative and will enjoy a greater market share in the coming years. Not only is diversifying your workforce the right thing to do, it will also make your organization more profitable.
Problem SolvingAccording to an article in Inc.com, teams that are diverse are much more effective when it comes to solving various problems. This is because people from different backgrounds bring the benefit of their unique experiences. This gives your team a myriad of different viewpoints that can be used to pinpoint more creative solutions.


Diverse teams are also far more innovative than teams that have less diversity. Having team members from diverse backgrounds means you can take advantage of a wider variety of skill sets and experience.
This creates a more creative environment for your team. Since there are so many differing viewpoints, there are many different ideas and solutions that you can take advantage of.
The more creative ideas you have, the easier it will be to create a more groundbreaking product or service.

Better Market Share

Having a diverse workforce also makes it easier to relate to your customer base. This is something that will become even more important in the future, as minorities will represent more of the US population.
Companies that are diverse will find it easier to relate to potential customers from diverse backgrounds. When your organization has a fuller understanding of the audience it is marketing to, it becomes easier to build deeper and more profitable relationships with potential customers.

Happier Employees

Having a more diverse workforce also creates a happier workplace for your employees. One of the biggest complaints minorities have about working for an organization that is lacking in the diversity department is the fact that the environment isn’t as comfortable as it could be.
Increasing diversity will give more employees a more comfortable environment for your employees. This will reduce turnover and encourage more productivity.

Summing It All Up

Simply put, diversity is a non-negotiable factor if you want your organization to achieve greater success. It’s been shown that diversity has enormous benefits for the companies that take it seriously.
Start implementing policies that promote greater diversity in your organization. You’ll be glad you did!



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