Posts Tagged Tips

Volunteer abroad safety tips for female volunteers

Volunteer abroad safety tips for female volunteers
Safety is a concern for many people who travel abroad. There is always a risk that something could happen to the traveler while they are abroad. Male volunteers are not safe while they abroad but female volunteers are more at risk than them. Due to their small stature (smaller than the average male) they are more at risk while they are volunteering abroad. Female international volunteers are easier targets than their male counterparts. Being a female volunteer requires them to pay special attention to her and the surroundings. There is a lot to fear while volunteering abroad as a female volunteer but it shouldn’t deter you from leaving home. Here are some tips to help: Dressing While you are abroad try and dress up according to the standards that are there. If you dress inappropriately it is seen as offensive. For example in Muslim and Arab nations, women should cover all parts of their bodies. The women are covered from head to toe. In other places, the cultures are conservative and the women there don’t wear tight fitting clothes and showing cleavage. Before going abroad find out how the local people dress up. To be safe, try wearing loose fitting clothes, long pants and long dresses. Avoid also wearing expensive jewelry and clothing as these attract attention, and you may be robbed of them. Try dressing up like the locals. Fake rings Put on a fake wedding ring that will detract many male suitors. As a female volunteer many men will try and get you. As they may assume that most western foreigners from Europe and the Americas are loose women with questionable morals. To avoid such advances put on wedding ring and if still approached tell them of your happy “marriage” it’s also advisable to carry with you photos of a man. The man could be your brother, friend or cousin to detract their advance. Drinking On the occasions you are invited to a party, or you are in a bar or restaurant, avoid to drink too much. When you are drunk you will become more vulnerable and you will have less control of yourself and your situation. When in bars do not accept drinks that have been opened, ask the waiters or the bar tender to open the bottle when you are seeing. As a rule of thumb don’t accept drinks from stranger that are open. There have been cases where drugs are slipped onto the alcohol then you will black out not remembering what happened during the night. Go out in groups or with somebody with whom you trust and will take care of you when you over indulge. Also when you are having a good time know your alcohol limit and avoid taking drinks you are not used. Stay in touch While you are volunteering abroad always stay in touch with a friend or your family. Email, text, call your family to update them of your whereabouts. Always keep updating them on how you are doing and where you are going. Try to keep them informed with almost everything that is going on. When something happens they will try and help you. Also when you are leaving the volunteer program or volunteer home, always inform them where you are going and when they should expect you back. This way, they will always be somebody who is looking over you. Being alert As a foreigner you will be an easy target for thieves and pickpockets. When you are in large crowds try to be mindful of your things and your surroundings. Get to know the emergency numbers: learn the police, hospital and fire emergency numbers. Try and learn some of the local words just in case you might need some help. In the foreign country mind your body language so as not to send the wrong signals. For example in some cultures women don’t look directly in to the eyes of men. When you do so you may encourage the man to assault your or be rude to you. In such cases try to be mindful and when talking to older men try and looking at the floor and being formal. Periods Menstruation can be an issue while you are abroad, because sometimes you might not be able to access pads and tampons during your girl’s day. Also with menstruation come cramps and body ache making you uncomfortable during that time. To reduce the effects of menstruation visit your General practitioner to give you advice on what to do. Generally many female volunteers carry contraception pills to avoid menstruation. Other solutions are a contraceptive implant, and the coil.

Organizing an Office – Tips on Organizing Any Office Clutter

Organizing an Office – Tips on Organizing Any Office Clutter

In a business setting, being organized makes a world of difference. Organization not only helps in common tasks such as meeting deadlines, retrieving information quickly for an appointment, or keeping your desk pile free for your client who is stopping by- it makes you a trusted business professional. Clients, vendors, customers, employees, and others will be able to rely on you to be on time for a meeting, pay bills on time, follow through, keep your word, manage a project well, and store records or papers without losing them. For me, it is crucial to practice what I preach. How can I tell clients to organize all day, if I don’t keep my business and home organized? And, many ask me how I stay organized. However, I don’t stay organized for others; I maintain organization because it saves me a ton of time and prevents wasting money by overbuying. The efficiency and productivity from being organized is priceless.

Typical desks and offices we organized are filled with:

Mounds of paper.
CDs, memory sticks and business cards scattered all over
Overstuffed and outdated files
Post-its and scraps of paper tacked to the wall or bulletin board.
Broken or unused computer /office equipment
A shredder buried under paper
An overflowing garbage can
Junk drawers filled with who knows what
Bookshelves full of outdated computer software and college textbooks

If your office needs some organizing, we’re here to help.

Your office is where you spend most of your time, working to make the most of your salary, to pay for most of the things in your life. An office is for working- getting things done. So don’t we want to be Focused. Efficient. Creative. Productive. Energized . Excited . and Inspired. when working? Look at what office clutter is robbing you of. Why put off making your office the best environment and productivity center ever? Now’s the time to organize. The benefits are numerous and you’ll be glad you did.

Here’s some office organizing tips to get your office back on track.

Organize your space
Designate one file folder, one pad of paper, or one Word document in the computer to keep all passwords and usernames organized. Of course, disguise or hide it, if you need to.

Keep your filing system simple. Only file permanent records and records used for taxes. If you don’t have a lot of time to file, just use twelve folders with the twelve months on them. File papers by the month. That’s truly the simplest method.

Get a large garbage bin and an expensive ( or more) shredder. The cheap ones break, always jam, overheat, or are super slow. It’s worth the investment. Don’t forget to get a second garbage can designated for recycling.

Set an audible computer reminder everyday at the same time. Take 5-10 minutes to listen to it and act on it, by putting things away, throwing paper out, and filing. If you only follow or do one of these tips, this would be the best one, by far!

Every time you pick up a new piece of paper, ask yourself, “What’s the next action step required for this paper?” – is it to do, to call, to fax, to email, to research, to read etc. Take your five most common action steps, label trays or boxes with that action word, and start to place paper in them DAILY

Containerize and label all the small things- CDs, memory sticks, business cards, post its, pads of paper, etc.

Use drawer organizers in every drawer so loose change, paper clips, and erasers don’t get out of hand.

Use plastic-colored envelopes, which you can buy at any office store, to hold different paper groups (i.e., coupons, store cards, extra credit cards, stamps and return address labels, etc.) Loose paper floats around and gets lost on desk tops and in drawers.

In today’s economy, there’s no question getting organized will help your business prioritize and make it through lean profits. When we’re focused with goals and prepared to meet them, no bad economy will bring us down. Here are some tips to help you streamline your office expenses and organize your space:

Streamline your office expenses
Read and dissect your monthly Profit & Loss statements. Make sure you’re aware of how much money you’re spending on different areas of your business. If you don’t understand how to read it, ask your financial adviser to walk you through it.

Cut out what really isn’t necessary or what you can do yourself in tough financial times. Perhaps bring more lunches and less catering and eating out.

Look for talented family or friends that could do the tasks you currently have to outsource and spend money on. Be creative where you could cut corners.

Reduce your cell phone bill by reducing your minutes. Tell your friends and family to call your home phone instead of your cell phone. Every bit adds up.

Power down your electronics in your office at the end of each day. It not only is better of the environment, it saves you electricity dollars when the bill comes.

Volunteer Abroad Packing Tips

Volunteer Abroad Packing Tips

“I’m very strict with my packing and have everything in its right place. I never change a rule. I hardly use anything in the hotel room. I wheel my own wardrobe in and that’s it.” – Charlie Watts. How you pack when you leave home for volunteer work, will determine how you get off to work on your project. Many volunteers, especially first time travelers, have a problem in knowing what to carry with them abroad, and how best to do their packing. Add to that the hustles of the airport and being in foreign land where you may not have someone to help you get started. Then, you may end up very confused, during the first few days of your volunteer work. Here is a brief overview off what to pack and how best to do so.

 

The golden rule is to pack light. The best advice is to bring out everything you would like to bring along with you on your trip, and then divide it in half.

Once this is done then you need to pick the lightest suitcase you can find. When packing your suitcase, make sure to put the heavier things on the bottom while the lighter ones go on top, however if you are using a bag pack then you need to put the lighter things at the bottom and the heavier on top, this will aid you in making your luggage lighter to carry around with you, especially soon after arrival.

 

When packing, put plastic bags at the bottom as well as using them as layers, this will help you to reduce wrinkling, another way to make your packing convenient is to put different clothing in different clear bags with a zip lock, this way it’s easier to identify different bags with different clothing when unpacking, it may also come in handy at customs if you need to open up your luggage.

 

Roll your cloths tightly when packing them into a bag pack; it often carries more this way. Make sure you have any necessary medication and essential documents with you on your carryon bag. Along with these, carry a change of clothes with you on your carryon luggage, just in case you need to freshen up after your flight. If you are travelling with a group then you can split up your clothes with other people. This way if any of you lose their luggage while travelling, then you will have a change of clothes for the first few days while efforts are being made to locate your luggage.

 

When doing your actual packing, remember you are packing for comfort, not glamour. The less jewelry you carry with you the better, it will make you less of a target for opportunistic criminals. When it comes to footwear, its best to choose waterproof or oiled footwear. It is not a bad idea to carry sandals or open shoes they may come in handy especially in households where shoes are not allowed. It is better for you to carry clothes that you can hand wash and carry with you some dark or neutral colored clothing.

 

Use small colorless bottles to carry toiletries around, it is better to refill than carry big bottles with you, put socks inside shoes and put the shoes in a plastic bag to avoid any messes. Make sure you carry a hat with you, woolen hats for cold weather and a baseball cap for sunny weather. For the ladies, expect to bring along at least one dress or skirt for going out to restaurants or other occasions, pants may not be commonly allowed in some communities, especially at certain events.

 

Some other things that you may need to carry with you are a small first aid kit, an electrical converter if you plan to carry a laptop or any electronics, raincoat or umbrella for the rain, a flash light with batteries. Also carry with you a money belt or a neck wallet to keep with you at all times, where you may keep your important travel documents, including your passport, money and credit cards.

 

 

 

Organizing Your Closets – Tips on Closet Organizing

Organizing Your Closets – Tips on Closet Organizing

I know you have heard it said before- you only wear twenty percent of the clothes in your closet. I hate to say it again, but it is true. Time and time again I see people with jam packed closets and dresser drawers, but when it comes down to it, they have their two favorite pairs of jeans, the one or two pajamas they wear every night, and the same t-shirt that they work out in because it is the most comfortable they own. Let us not deny that it is true. If you had to give it all up and only pack one suitcase full of clothes that you were allowed to keep, you could do it. Now, I am not saying go throw out all your clothes; what I am saying is simplify your closets and dresser drawers. Be truly honest with yourself and let these be the questions you use to make your decisions while organizing your closet:
-Do I look fabulous in this?
-Does it make me feel like a million bucks?
-Does it fit me perfectly?
-Is it super comfortable?
-Do I wear this once a week or at least every other week?
-Do these shoes make my feet hurt?
-If I missed this, could I replace it and find something similar in the stores?

Of course, these questions apply to different clothing items.

Your socks will never make you feel like a million bucks, but the cocktail dress you are keeping, should. You get the point.

To keep your closet organized, try to go through your closet during each season. If that is too much to ask, every six months can suffice. After simplifying, what do you do with your unwanted clothes? Before you offer them to friends or family, or take them to the nearest charity, there is a not- for- profit organization in Chicago that would appreciate them. Dress for Success (www.dressforsuccess.org) helps women interview and land jobs, not only by educating them but giving them suits or business clothes that can help them along in their job search. Check out their site for more details and the Chicago branch location.

Besides downsizing and simplifying, the right organizational products make a huge difference while organizing closets. I really believe that there are two places in your home where it helps to spend a little extra money on great organizing products. Those spaces are your kitchen cabinets and your closets.

These purse hangers do wonders if you are a purse lover- check out The Closet Purse Hanger at www.closetpursehanger.com

-Over the door pocket shoe organizers are a must for adults and kids. They can not only hold shoes, but scarves, nylons, tights, socks, and just about anything.
-Cap racks are great way to organize your husband’s or son’s collection of baseball caps
-Easily match up your jewelry with the perfect outfit by hanging necklaces and bracelets right inside your closet on the wall.
-Containerize fancy purses or wraps and off season accessories, placing them on high shelves in your closet.

If you have more closet space then dresser space, hanging sweater bags will do the trick. They are cloth pockets that hang from the pole. You can not only use these for sweaters but work out clothes or pajamas. Anything light.

Designate a laundry bag for dry cleaning and mending. Hang it on a hook in the closet or on the back of the door.

Buy different colored hangers for family members if spouses or kids share closets. That makes it easy to identify whose clothes are whose.

Finally, uniform hangers really do make your closet feel clean and organized. Do away with the dry cleaner, wire hangers and spruce up your closet.

Family Volunteering Abroad Tips

Family Volunteering Abroad Tips
Families who take vacations together are added meaning to their holidays by adding volunteering to the vacation. The family volunteering abroad could be made up of children, teens, young adults and grandparents. Family volunteer abroad work includes: construction projects, orphanage programs, conservation projects and mentorship programs. The advantages of family volunteering overseas are great rewarding experience; forming the childrens world view; empower the kids to see they can change the world; expands the childrens insight; gives families time to bond; and exciting travel opportunities. Volunteers who want to go abroad with their families should look for organizations that can accommodate everyones needs and wants. Family volunteers should look into the following when planning their volunteer abroad trip:

Precautions

If the volunteer family has young children between the ages of 6 to 14 years extra precautions should be taken. Before leaving home, the parents should explain to the children what they are going to do abroad and inform them of safety precautions. With older kids, they should inform their parents where they are going and what time they are coming back. As parents, they should: get bright colored clothes for their kids for them to be noticeable in a crowd; stitch the names of the children on the inside of the clothes; keep a recent photo of the kids; one parent should always keep an eye on the kids while the other parent is doing something else; know what to do in case of an emergency; and keep medicines and other harmful objects away from kids.

Attitude

Attitude is like expectations, explain to the children what they are going to do and what to expect. The volunteer parents should not give the kids false expectations and hopes; they should be honest with their kids. Also parents should find ways to change the attitude of their children. When the parent sees the child is developing a negative attitude they should try and improve it as quickly as possible. When the child gets a negative attitude, it will affect everyone elses mood and make the work twice as hard. The parents should find way to make the volunteer work more engaging or stop working when they see the child has become too uncomfortable. During long flights parents should buy extra toys that would distract their kids. If there is something that is stressing the parents they should find ways of hiding their frustration from the kids. One way to change the childrens attitude is by engaging them in the planning process making them feel more important in the vacation.

Volunteer work

The volunteer family should choose a volunteer program that suits the needs of ever member of the family. There are various programs available to choose from for example: conservation, orphanage, mentorship programs, sports, building and construction and agricultural programs. Depending on the age and desires of the family members they should choose programs that will work for everyone. For example grandparents may enjoy orphanage work more to sports activities, while the children could prefer the opposite. The family members capabilities should be put into consideration when choosing a program. Take note that overly physical jobs will be hard for the younger and older family members. Parents should involve their children when picking volunteer work in which everyone can enjoy them. Another option will be to different family members involved in different programs but in the same location.

Accommodation

Lastly, when planning for family volunteering abroad the volunteers should look into where they are going to stay. The options available to volunteers are hostels, hotels, dorms, homestay and couch surfing. The different accommodations are suitable for different type of travelers. Younger children will require more private accommodation while older kids would be better placed in less private accommodation like hostels. When volunteering as a family the accommodation options are homestays, hotels and hostels. If the volunteers have very young kids they should pick a place which has few potential hazards. When the parents arrive at the hotel or hostel, they should try to make the place child proof. They should teach the kids of emergency procedures just in case something happens and the children should be supervised throughout the stay.