Category Archives: Office Motivation

5 Must Get Productivity Apps for Business

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Productivity Apps

5 Must Get Productivity Apps

Perk up your work with these 5 Must Get Productivity Apps for Business…

When searching for an app which will benefit your business and ultimately make your life easier, the sheer number available can be overwhelming. Facing so much choice can be off putting, and what starts out as a task designed to save you time and effort in the long run, can actually turn into an uphill struggle which can put you off completely.

Never fear, we have done the donkey work, and sifted through the hundreds of apps available to bring you our top five productivity apps which are guaranteed to make your working life easier!

1.Evernote

Evernote gives you the ability to create digital notebooks for everything from managing your calendar and keeping track of your expenses to creating presentations. In order to take full advantage of everything this innovative app has to offer, add lots of notebooks, for example take pictures on your smart phone of notes you have jotted down during meetings, add them to a notebook and they will be easily accessible at a later date. Gone will be the days when you would have been frantically searching your desk drawers for that scrap of paper with all those important scribbling jotted on it. You can be smug in the knowledge that those oh so important notes are safely stored in your digital notebook! Thanks Evernote!

https://evernote.com/download/

2.Letterspace

Letterspace is a fantastic note taking app which utilizes hashtags to organise your scribblings into a streamlined, easy to use interface. Superior editing features also make this a must for people in business. Antiquated shorthand will be a thing of the past with this clever app. Letterspace we salute you! #brilliant!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/letterspace-swipe.-edit.-note./id879516377?mt=8

3.Humin

Humin, an indispensable networking app allows you to keep track of business contacts and connections. It remembers details such as how and where you met somebody, which means you don’t have to worry about remembering these details at a later date, or suffer an excruciatingly embarrassing meeting with a business contact who you ought to know but you just can’t quite remember why!

Humin also combines your contacts, dialing and voicemail in order to work out who your most important contacts are. Indispensable!

https://humin.com/products/humin/

4.1Password

It has never been more important to protect your passwords and keep login details secure when there seems to be increasingly regular data leaks. 1Password is an absolute must have as it manages your web logins and other sensitive information in an incredibly user friendly package. This app will take away security anxiety and ensure that if you experience password amnesia you won’t have to go through the laborious task of resetting your login details.

https://1password.com/

5.bambam!

bambam! Is an excellent project managing app which we think ranks among the best in its field.

We like this project management tool because it doesn’t have the complicated interface you get with the likes of MS Project. bambam is self-intuitive and has some great features that allow users to connect and share their project information, send messages to team members, upload files, track project timelines and basically collaborate better.

bambam is quick and easy to set up and is low cost. The flexibility and customisation functions are great. You really are in control of your projects with bambam and we particularly liked the instant messaging – allowing you to touch base on projects and share ideas.

https://www.dobambam.com/

How to Build Better Customer Relationships

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Build Better Customer Relations

Build Better Customer Relations

Ever wondered how to build better customer relationships, well here’s 5 invaluable tips…

When it comes to building a successful and profitable business, making and maintaining good customer relationships is absolutely key. Forging excellent customer connections now will pay dividends in the future when your company receives recommendations and new business as a result of past positive interactions.

Consult our guide below to inspire you and your colleagues to strive for and benefit from developing good customer relations.

  1. Network, network and network some more!

    Good networking is crucial in business and developing and constantly creating new networks is a long term investment that requires hard work. Any contacts you have could be potential clients or lead you to new customers. Therefore your network could include anybody from existing colleagues right through to family friends and everyone in between. Adding value to relationships with your contacts will pay off and lead to business.

  2. Positive and frequent communication.

    Following on from the need to network, it is crucial for any thriving business to realise that in order to reap maximum reward from your network, communication has to be a regular thing. Customers, potential or existing won’t remember you next time if you fail to follow up after initial contact. It is imperative to stand out from your competitors so that when for example a contact is in need of what your business sells they remember you and what you have to offer. This can be achieved by sending out frequent newsletters for example, or by having regular events which these contacts can attend.

  3. E-mail Campaigns are cheap and effective.

    E-mail marketing is an extremely cost effective way of maintaining contact with your customers. For just a few pence per customer you can send news letters or carefully targeted campaigns that will ensure you stay fresh in their minds. For even better results, also use social media to engage your customers. Using social media is an excellent way to encourage and achieve regular interactions with consumers. The key to the success of having a strong social media presence as a business is that customers feel that they are having a more personal and two way relationship with you, so do invest in this.

  4. Reward loyal customers.

    Studies in business show that the most profitable customers are repeat customers. It is essential that as a business you ensure you are doing enough to encourage repeat business. To facilitate this you should stay in touch and offer something in return for their time and custom. Consider creating a loyalty scheme or organise events for existing customers to attend where they are made to feel valued. Be aware that if you fail to keep in touch with past and existing clients a competitor will!

  5. Happy customers make excellent salespeople on your behalf.

    If a customer is happy with your business and you have given them a great customer experience they are highly likely to sing your praises and recommend you to new and potential customers. These new customers will have been effectively generated for free meaning that time and energy invested in developing positive relationships is time well spent.

Remember – it is easier to look after your existing clients than to win new ones!

7 Healthy Snacks to Eat at Your Desk

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healthy-office-snacksWhen those mid-morning hunger pangs strike, or you start suffering from the inevitable afternoon slump, do you reach for a healthy snack to sustain and nourish you, or do you gorge on sugary food and drinks for that quick sugar high which is then quickly followed by another slump in energy? Making wise snack choices whilst at work not only gives us a sustained energy boost, they can also help concentration and focus whilst also contributing to a healthy diet in general. Try our suggestions below for healthy snacks to eat at your desk for some energy and mood boosting not to mention tasty snacks.

1. A handful of almonds

Almonds really do pack a powerful nutritional punch. Not only are they a fantastic source of protein, they are also a source of healthy fat. They amazingly contain nine essential nutrients and are rich in Vitamin E. In fact, when compared to other nuts, Almonds contain the most protein and fibre. Thankfully they are tasty too!

2. Hummus with raw vegetables to dip

The humble chickpea, the main ingredient in traditional hummus certainly isn’t humble when it comes to its nutritional credentials! Chickpeas are a great source of calcium, iron, protein and fibre and as a consequence prevent blood sugar levels from rising to rapidly. Adding a variety of raw vegetables to dip only increases the benefits and taste of this option.

3. Yogurt

Although sadly many yogurts available on supermarket shelves are crammed full of sugar these days, natural unsweetened yogurt is a great option for a daytime snack. Natural yogurt contains good bacteria and probiotics which promotes gut health and a healthy digestive system. Natural yogurt also contains protein, calcium, vitamins, potassium and magnesium. What’s not to like!?

4. Apples and peanut butter

This may sound like an odd combination but give it a go-it’s delicious. The apple provides carbohydrates and fibre for a sustained energy release, whilst the peanut butter delivers healthy monounsaturated fat and protein which further controls spikes in blood sugar. Make sure for maximum health benefits that you pick unsweetened peanut butter such as Whole Earth award winning peanut butter. Yum!

5. A handful of mixed seeds

Brain boosting pumpkin seeds contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fat and are an excellent source of Omega-3 fats making them a great option for those who don’t regularly eat oily fish. They also provide heart healthy magnesium and immune boosting zinc. These powerful seeds certainly shouldn’t just be for Halloween only! Flax seeds are an excellent food to boost your fibre intake. They are also high in Omega-3. Recent studies suggest that consuming these wonder seeds can aid in keeping blood pressure within safe limits. Sunflower seeds are inexpensive yet still contain high levels of healthy fats and minerals such as magnesium, copper and manganese. Sunflower seeds also contain high levels of naturally occurring Vitamin E; a powerful antioxidant.

6. A healthy energy bar

We are certainly not advocating running out and buying just any old snack bar. As with yogurts above, the nutritional benefits of many of these bars are cancelled out by the amount of sugar that has been added. But if you look carefully, there are a new breed of bar available which not only taste great but also offer a guiltless boost to your diet. Look out for ‘Nakd Bars’ available at most supermarkets. Consisting of just raw fruits and nuts, these delicious bars offer excellent dietary benefits and also provide you with one of your five a day! Check out their website: www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

7. Chocolate

No, you’re not dreaming! If eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can provide many health benefits; It is a powerful antioxidant which is packed full of beneficial minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium. Studies have shown that cocoa consumption (aim to eat chocolate that has a minimum of 70% cocoa solids to really reap the rewards), can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol whilst raising the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in your blood which means potentially lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. Chocolate is also good for the brain (this just gets better and better). Chocolate contains flavanols which are linked with a reduction of memory loss in older people and dark chocolate is also thought to encourage feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Go on treat yourself to a square or three! If this all sounds too good to be true, don’t take our word for it, read this article…http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/healthy-eating/chocolate-10-health-reasons-you-should-eat-more-of-it/

Giving the gift of clean water in Africa – Eden supports World Water Day

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World Water Day 2016

Uganda boreholes

Uganda boreholes

Each year the arrival of World Water Day on 22nd March is a positive reminder of the importance of water globally. It also raises awareness of the almost one billion people who don’t have access to safe water worldwide. So, we’re firm supporters of the initiative here at Eden Springs.

With water being central to our business, it’s important to us that we support projects throughout the year to bring clean water to those who need it most. We work with a carefully selected corporate charity partner – People Help People-One World – who helps communities in Central Africa, at a grassroots level, gain access to clean drinking water.
One project we’ve supported was the building of several clean water wells in the Wakiso district, which in turn is helping to improve access to drinking water for the area’s 1.4 million inhabitants – 70% of whom don’t have a source of clean water.

We are excited to announce our support of a second and new project for 2016. Through our association with the Carbon Neutral® organisation, Eden’s carbon neutral offsetting will lend support to another water infrastructure project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

About the project

Based primarily in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, the project provides clean drinking water to small rural communities by repairing broken boreholes and drilling new ones. The boreholes are used as water wells by installing a vertical pipe casing and well screen which allows water to be extracted from the ground. Funds from the carbon offsetting pay for this activity, as well as ongoing maintenance to ensure they continue to operate.

Estimated to impact 3,000 children and 5,700 adults, the project is successfully reducing incidences of diarrhoea and fatalities in the local communities and, importantly, freeing up the time women and children used to have to spend collecting water located hours away.
It’s often the case that in many communities health, education, income and general development is negatively impacted due to a lack of water. So, providing access to clean water has a wealth of benefits.

World Water Day has our full backing and we all need to be playing our part in helping ensure safe water year-round.

To find out more about our charity partnership and our carbon offsetting, visit our website.

 

Raising Awareness of Clean Water: World Water Day 2016

Posted in Office Motivation on by .

World Water Day 2016

Uganda Boreholes

World Water Day 2016

Every March 22nd since 1993 the United Nations has celebrated World Water Day, with the sole purpose of raising awareness of the importance of this vital natural resource. The occasion is a time to bring water to the forefront of our minds and shine a light on those across the globe who need it most.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is better water, better jobs. It’s aiming to highlight the power water has to transform people’s lives. The United Nations (UN) states that 1.5 billion people, that’s around half of the world’s workforce, work in water-related sectors. Nearly all jobs depend on water in some way though this is not often recognized. Here’s some examples:

• 40% of the global economically-active population work in crop and animal production, fisheries or hunting. Yet, only 20% are employed as waged workers, according to the World Bank.

• In terms of agriculture, which represents 70% of freshwater withdrawals worldwide, a farmer’s job is heavily dependent on water, from managing the available resource, addressing groundwater depletion, climate change and water scarcity.

• In some communities, including many in Africa, women and children have to walk for hours to collect safe water. This is a demanding job that is not recognised as such or paid. It’s important this changes to help empower and improve the lives of women.

So, whether it’s the presence of water, its quality or its quantity, it’s easy to see how it has such a significant impact on workers across the globe. It’s certainly time to shine a light on the topic this World Water Day –better water, better jobs. Show your support by visiting the website and learning more.
Water sits at the very heart of the Eden business, so this year’s theme really resonates with us. We are proud supporters of projects to provide clean water to communities in need in Africa and we’ll be telling you more about these in an upcoming blog.

7 Tips to Increase Creativity

If you’re looking to improve your creative output then this list is for you. Some of these hints and tips may seem surprising, but give them a go and unleash your creative side.

Finger pointing to brain

Switching the brain on

1. A tired brain is more creative.

At first glance this seems very odd but allow me to explain! Creativity springs from allowing our minds to be free to wander and explore what may seem like unrelated thoughts. In contrast when we need to solve problems or be analytical our brain needs complete focus which can only be achieved when we are wide awake and at our optimum. A tired brain finds it difficult to filter distractions but creativity benefits from distractions and random thinking.

2. Exercise for creativity.

Exercise is good for us for a myriad of reasons and a recent study shows that it is beneficial for creativity.

“Sweat is like WD-40 for your mind-it lubricates the rusty hinges of your brain and makes your thinking more fluid. Exercise allows your conscious mind to access fresh ideas that are buried in your subconscious.”

Psychology Today-Christopher Bergland-The Neuroscience of Imagination

3. Creativity flows in ambient noise.

Silence is useful for sharpening our focus but creative thinking thrives in ambient noise (think buzz of your favourite café), which promotes expansive thoughts and fresh ideas.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

4. Creativity is not necessarily original.

Coming up with new ideas can be scary and put us under enormous pressure. Actually often generating new ideas comes from making connections between ideas that already exist.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Steve Jobs

5. Travel to promote creative thinking.

A study has shown that amongst a group of university students, those who travelled abroad rather than just staying on campus scored better on creative thinking tests. This could be explained because when we travel to different countries we experience different cultures and traditions which is bound to broaden our thinking.

Dim Light Bulb

Dim Lighting

6. Dim lighting encourages a sense of freedom.

Research shows that dim lighting increases creativity. This is due to our subconscious feeling more free to explore; “…darkness elicits a feeling of being free from constraints and triggers a risky, explorative processing style.”

7. Mess can enhance creativity.

Check out this research…which proves beyond reasonable doubt that having a messy desk can lead to more creative thinking! Wonderful news for a messy person like myself but perhaps not so with your hyper organised tidy boss, still at least you can legitimately argue the case for messiness now!

Reference: We have used this article by Belle Beth Cooper  for inspiration: Creativity Methods For More Ideas –  Take a look at her full article

-Things to do mug - be time efficient

8 ways to be more time efficient

Be more time efficient – Stop trying to multi-task!

In order to prove just how time efficient and competent they are many people practice the art of multi-tasking. This often leads to outcomes that are the very opposite of what they were at the time. The majority will end up being less efficient and the quality of what the person has produced suffers. The truly time efficient know that concentrated focus on one project at a time yields faster and more satisfactory work.

 

Delegate delegate delegate!

If people bite off more than they can chew, productivity and efficiency take a huge hit. The uber efficient know when to delegate and who to delegate to in order to achieve the aims of the task in hand.

 

Good communication is key.

It is important before communicating to consider what the objectives are for the interaction and also to communicate effectively so that there is no confusion about the subject. For example before you send an e-mail consider how it can be worded to convey your intentions succinctly and politely. A little thought before you pick up the phone or hit send can save hours being lost if all you’ve achieved is to cause confusion or offence.

 

Structure your time.

In order to achieve a disciplined approach to your schedule create standard routines to stick to within each day. This will help you be ready for important events and gain control over projects. The more control you have over your schedule the easier it will be to cope with the unexpected when it arises. Control your time, don’t let it control you!

 

Organise your physical space.

Ensure that your workspace is organised and that everything has its place. Organisation is key if you want to avoid situations where you lose precious minutes every day trying to hunt down essential equipment for you to complete tasks. Spending time decluttering your desk and finding everything a home will save you significant time in the future.

 

Keep a productivity diary.

Try keeping a diary for a week which logs how long it takes you to do specific activities and also note down time that for whatever reason hasn’t been productive. Then the following week try to reduce time spent on similar activities, just being aware of what can potentially hold you back or distract you can yield large efficiency gains.

 

Do engage in downtime.

It is a fallacy to sacrifice your own leisure time in order to accomplish more at work. We know now that overly tired stressed out people are not as competent or efficient as their rested relaxed counterparts. A well-rested person will perform at their peak which is a win win for everyone.

 

Plan plan and plan some more.

When given a project many people in a bid to be efficient practise the art of impatience and completely fail to plan their objectives and how to tackle the task. Super-efficient people research the project and break it down into small steps in order to achieve success . This planning may require time at the beginning of a new assignment but it will be worth it to have clear objectives and a pathway to success clearly mapped out.

Energy on a budget

Posted in Office Motivation on by .

Energy on a budget – If you find your post-Christmas resolve to lead a healthier lifestyle and become more ‘zen’ quickly dissipating as the cold dark days of January seem like they may well last forever, you’re back to binging on processed sugary snacks to get you through the afternoon slump and then experiencing post sugar energy crashes when you get home, try these no bake raw energy bars, oozing with health and vitality to get you feeling positive and back on the health wagon again. Not only are they delicious and easy to make, they will also be considerably cheaper than buying something of similar ilk at your local supermarket, leaving you more money to put in that holiday fund to escape the cruel British winter!

The beauty of these bars is that you can completely adapt them to your tastes and change flavours often so you don’t get bored. Also for added oomph in the health stakes you could add a spoonful or two of chia seeds, coconut or flaxseed if you wanted too.

Ingredients:
1 cup of nuts (e.g. cashew, peanuts, it’s totally up to you)
1 cup of dried fruit (again the choice is yours, perhaps a mixture of berries)
1 cup of pitted dried dates (Medjool would be best if you can get them)

Unbelievably you need nothing else for scrumptious snacks except a food processor, cling film and a sharp knife!

Add all the ingredients into your food processor and pulse a few times to start breaking up the ingredients, if the dates clump together then separate.

Process for 30 seconds until everything has broken down into crumb size pieces. If necessary scrape the bowl to ensure nothing is sticking.

Process again until a ball is formed (about 1-2 minutes). Turn out onto a sheet of clingfilm and press into a thick square. Then wrap and chill overnight.

The next morning unwrap and cut into a bars, wrapping each individually. They will keep in the fridge for several weeks or up to 3 months in the freezer. Most tasty eaten straight from the fridge so if you’re taking them to work then store them in the staffroom fridge until hunger strikes!

Share with us your ideas for energy boosts during work: @eden_springs

10 Ways to a more environmentally responsible business

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It has never been more important or indeed urgent, especially in the wake of ongoing scientific research and the Paris Climate Summit, that every single person needs to become more environmentally aware. This doesn’t simply mean that we need to take stock of our carbon footprint and attitudes to the world around us only in relation to our personal lives. It is critical that businesses no matter how large or small also seek to do all they can to reduce their carbon footprint and do their bit for combatting climate change. Here are ten ideas to get you started.

Don’t just recycle waste paper, recycle everything you possibly can. Old electrical items, printer cartridges…………………….

 

1 – RECYCLE YOUR RUBBISH

Ensure that there is a food waste bin in the kitchen or staff room and that people are actively encouraged to recycle their rubbish, (generated by lunch for example) by providing different bins for recyclable materials that is separate to that of a general waste bin.

recycle-57136_1280

2 – GO PAPERLESS

As a business go paperless. Not only is this excellent in terms of reducing waste, it also has the added bonus of banishing the cluttered untidy desk to a thing of the past. It is simple to invoice electronically now for example and to send documents by e-mail.

paperless office

 

3 – CARBON NEUTRAL

Research and then use carbon neutral companies where possible for services that as a company you have outsourced. In addition to this, research how as a business it is possible to become a carbon neutral company yourself.

 

4 – TRAVEL LESS

In the digital age of skype, facetime and the like, consider whether it is absolutely necessary to travel to attend meetings and conferences. If as a company you can lessen the amount of miles travelled for business purposes, not only will you dramatically decrease your carbon footprint, you will also save huge amounts of money in the process (petrol and expenses such as food and hotel costs). It’s a win win!

 

5 – GET SMART

However if it is necessary for your business that you or your colleagues have to travel then forget about the traditional company car and invest in the new breed of electrical vehicle, or at the very least a hybrid. After the initial investment this course of action will also yield significant financial savings.

electric car

 

6 – GOVERNMENT CYCLING SCHEME

Encourage and even incentivise employees to find alternative ways to travel to work, such as cycling or using public transport. There are government schemes to facilitate this.

cycle to work

 

7 – IS YOUR OFFICE ENERGY EFFICIENT?

Spend time everyday ensuring that your office is as energy efficient as it can be. Check that the light bulbs are energy saving and that computers and all other electrical equipment is completely switched off at the end of each day or when not required. Have specific times for tea breaks so that the kettle isn’t boiled unnecessarily. Reduce frivolous usage of heating or air conditioning unless absolutely needed.

efficient bulbs

 

8 – GREEN ENERGY

Consider whether it would be possible to harness alternative energies such as solar power at your place of work. Any energy generated that isn’t utilised by your business can be sold back to the National Grid.

 

9 – WORK FROM HOME

Allow employees when appropriate to work from home to reduce their carbon footprint. As well as benefiting the environment it will also be greatly appreciated by staff.

 

10 – RESPONSIBLY SOURCED TEA AND COFFEE

Only buy environmentally friendly and ethically sourced tea and coffee products. Look at http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/ for companies who source and supply these products. Rainforest Alliance approved products help alleviate poverty in the developing world, combat the decimation of forests and curb climate change through investment of people and the environment.

5 Workplace Resolutions

Posted in Health, Office Management, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

5 Workplace Resolutions for the year ahead…

If returning to the office after the Christmas break left you full of dread and catapulted you back to feeling like a small child begrudgingly going back to school, then the 5 Workplace Resolutions list below is for you. Not only will it benefit you but also your colleagues around you.

  1. KEEP CONTROL OF TECHNOLOGY

    worklife

    In this digital age of smart phones and tablets, it is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible for people to switch off and go incommunicado.

    For many gone are the days when a person could leave their desk at the end of the day and not have to think about work until the next morning. As technology becomes more sophisticated the boundaries of work and personal life become ever more blurred, and expectations of companies for their employees to be ever available is on the rise.

    Let this be the year when you reclaim your personal life and reset clear boundaries with your employer. If you must take your work home with you then let the times you do so be the exception not the rule. You will feel more energized and motivated within the workplace if you are able to enjoy a life outside of it.

  2. MAXIMISE YOUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY ALLOWANCE

    holiday

    Still on the subject of work life balance, make the most of your holiday allowance, and by that I mean take every single day of holiday you are entitled to.

    Too often people neglect to take time owed to them because they feel under so much stress from their work load they feel they cannot afford the time off.

    Taking a holiday from work will help you be more productive when you return, as well rested refreshed employees will feel motivated and be more resilient to stress. Remember you’ve earned your holiday, so make the most of it and enjoy it!

  3. DEVELOP YOURSELF

    personal development

    Examine ways in which you can develop yourself and your role within the company. Research courses and training which would benefit your company but most importantly benefit you by building your confidence and skills which leads to greater job satisfaction and future prospects.

  4. KEEP POSITIVE

    Keep positive

    Be a positive force within your office; take the time to speak to your colleagues especially those you have never taken the time to get to know.

    Give compliments and positive feedback to others. Listen to those around you and be proactive and constructive when solving problems. Fellow employees will respect and appreciate your positivity which in turn will contribute to a happier more cohesive workplace environment and better team work.

  5. ENJOY YOUR LUNCH

    enjoy your lunch

    If you are somebody who is forever chained to their desk and who has forgotten what a lunch-break is, take action to remedy this. It is hugely counterproductive no matter how heavy your workload to refuse to leave the office and have a break. This will only lead to stress and eventually burnout.

    Even just a five minute walk in the fresh air can do wonders for your mood and on returning to work you will feel reinvigorated to carry on with your toils!

    Try once a week to share your lunch-break with a colleague, leave the office and work behind and enjoy good food and conversation-you deserve it!

Hopefully these ideas will set you on happier path for the year ahead. Remember folks we work to live, not live to work!