LIFE IS TOO SERIOUS

tumblr_mniandVQ7p1sn7lxto1_1280What does white whine, Suri Cruise, Goldman Sachs and babies crying all have in common?

They are all blogs, and today I am going to be wild and crazy and encourage you to read other people’s posts!

After all, I don’t want you to overdose on WTF so I thought I would share some of my favourite ones out there. But be warned some are for the not so faint hearted.

GS Elevator http://gselevator.wordpress.com
A very witty and sarcastic blog based on the world of finance. There are actually some smart tips in some of articles and I love the Twitter posts even more. It has received huge attention from the press and articles have been re-published all around the world. But be warned – it may offend.

Suri’s Burn Book http://surisburnbook.tumblr.com
Written by Allie Hagan who masquerades as Suri Cruise (by day she works in consulting in Washington DC). An amusing account of famous kids through the eyes of Miss Cruise – I am a big fan.

White Whine http://whitewhine.com
A site detailing the World’s “real” issues. People complaining about all manner of things, which of course are not life threatening or important. An amusing read that exposes the World’s biggest whingers.

And if you simply want a good old fashioned laugh try this one –
Reasons My Son is Crying http://www.reasonsmysoniscrying.com
A site where parents can post photos of their children crying and the funny reasons why

Enjoy!

What are your favourite blogs? (apart from WTF of course)

OLD SCHOOL WEIGHT LOSS

Fitness-Iq-LLC-Shake-Weight_wide
Unfortunately I was not be born with a model’s body, so I have to exercise to counteract my food and wine consumption. And being an avid outdoor exerciser, I always have a giggle to myself when walking past a gym and noticing people reading a magazine or book while they are on a treadmill – I mean seriously is the speed set on 0.5 to be able to do that?

But what is even more amusing is hearing about the latest fitness fad, only to see swarms of people who jump on board believing they can get fit and lose weight by expending no energy at all and still be able to eat McDonalds for lunch (trust me if one really existed I would be all over it!)

So what are the most ridiculous fitness inventions? Here are my top 5 –

1.The Thigh Master
Let’s start old school 1980’s with one of the original fitness “machines” sold on late night television. There wasn’t a lot of thighs mastered and the inventor, Joshua Reynolds, was also behind the Mood Ring, if you weren’t already sceptical!

2.Toning Shoes
Any sporting item promoted and endorsed by Kim Kardashian (the least sporty person on the planet) should be sounding alarm bells! Both the Reebok and Skechers brand have been proven to give zero toning ability.

3.Balance Bands
I really wish I had invented these. With zero “balance” powers (the placebos work exactly the same) millions of people have forked out $29.99 to try and improve strength and balance by via of a rubber bracelet!

4.The Face Trainer
Just in case you wanted to tighten 44 muscles on your face and look like Hanibal Lector while you do it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hhZR8CS7cgA

5.The Shake Weight
Ohhh my favourite. With more than 4 million units sold, I am hoping that most of these are for spoof presents. A 2.5 pound spring-loaded dumbbell which works by mimicking an action that should be kept for the bedroom!

Unfortunately we know the ugly truth is that it takes plain hard work, dedication and some self-control or discipline in the eating and drinking department, which is not much fun.

What is the craziest fitness fad you have tried?

OUTSOURCE ME!

Child-cleaningI am the first person to admit I am a HUGE advocate of outsourcing whatever I can.

I have been known to be somewhat of a control freak (I can hear my family screaming yes at this point!) but over the years I have managed to let go of the need to make sure everything is 100% perfect and give way to someone else having a go at it.

The fact is, we have been outsourcing personal tasks forever, it just didn’t have a label.

When I was growing up it was called working for your pocket money. And if you have ever had the opportunity to have a personal assistant I would put money on the fact that they have carried out some “non-business related” outsourcing task for you at some point, whether it be booking personal travel or paying a phone bill.

Generally the most popular tasks to outsource are – housecleaning, laundry and ironing, grocery shopping, dog walking (not sure what the point is having a dog if you don’t have time to take it outside), car washing and good old lawn mowing. But more and more people are slowly trusting others to pay their bills, or to buy a gift for their loved one.

So how do you get on-board the express train to “easy life”?

The 4 Hour Workweek is really the original how-to guide for ideas on better managing your personal tasks

But if you want to jump straight in you can try some of the following sites (sadly these are not available in all countries).

My favourite one – www.fiverr.com
Basically a list of offerings from people who will do “X” for $5. There are real some gems on offer!

www.taskrabbit.com
One of the better known (and tested) sites

www.elance.com
A great resource for small business with everything from logo design to building your website

www.fancyhands.com
For $25 a month your personal admin issues are solved

Now all this free time now means more time to relax. I am off to order a bottle of wine online that will be delivered chilled to my door in under an hour… now that is service!

A FREE LOUIS VUITTON HANDBAG?

YES PLEASE!!

Well that’s my story based on a recent experience.

I had a 3 year old LV bag that was starting to show some wear and tear that wasn’t all that desirable, so I took it into a store to ask what could be done. LV sent it away and a week later I got a call saying come in and pick a new handbag… happy days! That simple (and very pleasant) experience of a brand standing behind its product has left me with nothing but good things to say, and I am now “brand loyal” .

I have invested in the LV brand and that emotional tie is why other brands such as Apple, have such loyalty.

Luxury brands that have successfully engaged with customers and have a “cult” following are (based on numerous brand studies):
- BMW who consistently is the chosen number luxury car brand around the world
- Tiffany for jewelry
- Louis Vuitton for fashion
- Rolex for watches

And now not everyone needs to go into a store to ‘feel the love’. Consumers are more than happy to shop for luxury via the internet with 80% of luxury brands having e-commerce facilities (and gaining the highest traffic to their sites versus the 20% who don’t)

What sites are people purchasing from? Ralph Lauren commands 39.2% of traffic (out of 42 luxury brand sites names by PM Digital) followed by LouisVuitton.com (11.8%) and Gucci.com (10.9%).

I said a few months ago in a post and I will say it again… caveat emptor (buyer beware). Check which sites you are purchasing from as most are fakes. 839 websites in the USA alone have been closed down for selling replica merchandise. 80% of Hermes-branded goods sold on the Internet are not real. So if that handbag price is too good to be true, its fake!

DO-IT-YOURSELF FLYING

Getting on a plane soon? Don’t be surprised if the pain of long lines to board, lost baggage and upgrade requests start to go away as we see some new technology being put to good use to make travelling easier (well that’s the theory anyway!)

Innovations that have been tested over the past year include –

Gate-free
At Las Vegas’ McCarran, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich Airports there are self-boarding stations where passengers scan their boarding passes to open the automated clearance gates and board planes on their own

Lost luggage a thing of the past
Las Vegas McCarran, Lisbon and Milan Airports and Qantas Airlines – a high-tech baggage-handling system using a tag embedded with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip to each checked bag. These are scanned and tracked more easily by sensors from conveyor belt to carousel.
Alternatively you can tag your own bag with Alaska Airlines in Seattle.

Upgrades on demand
“Halo” devices (tablet computers) enable the airline crew to walk among passengers in the terminal and process upgrades. EasyJet is testing as well as airports in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Edinburgh and Geneva.

Smile
To stop people swapping boarding passes once they have gone through security at London’s Heathrow Airport passengers will have their face scanned for identification upon entering and leaving the departure area. This will happen at an automatic gate and be synced with the boarding pass.
Gatwick is doing the same, but this time via iris recognition.

Boarding pass on the move
Near-field communication (NFC) chips are used as replacement for boarding passes on phones (the iPhone is yet to have this technology). Japan Airlines is the first airline globally to enable smart phones with NFC chips to act as boarding passes for passengers flying domestically, and others are lining up to do the same.

Hmmm… now to get rid of those long immigration queues at some airports.

BEAM ME UP!

Are you a telecommuter, teleworker, iWorker, eWorker, web worker, virtual worker, portable professional? Or more simply, do you work remotely?

The constant improvement in technology is providing more and more opportunities for people to telecommute in their jobs. No longer do the old excuses carry any weight when it comes to connectivity and access to information as we have email, phone, online chats, web cams, teleconference, smart phones, and the list continues to grow.

According to a Reuters poll, approximately one in five workers around the globe, particularly employees in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day. Unfortunately, the figures for the USA and Europe are much lower.

65 percent of people interviewed think telecommuters are more productive because greater flexibility allowed them to have more control over their work life. Organizations are encouraging their employees to work remotely in a bid to increase productivity, cut costs and improve employees’ motivation by giving them a better work life balance. It also helps keep talented women and mothers in the workforce.

The savings add up too. Telecommuting can save you between $4,000 and $21,000 and 15 to 25 work days a year in travel costs and time.

80% of telecommuters report a better quality of life. Employees who work remotely from home have 25% less stress, they’re up to 20% more productive, and are much more willing to put in extra time on work.

Some of the best places to telecommute are –

1.India
2.Indonesia
3.Mexico
4.Argentina
5.South Africa
6.Turkey

Of course while it all sounds great, for a manager there is a fear of loss of control, and for employees the thought of not seen and forgotten for promotion opportunities. The key is having a good in-person relationship before a telecommuting relationship (a bit like dating before you get engaged!).

And remember… “work is something that you do, not that something that you travel to!”

*graphic by Splashtop

POWERPOINT OR A PENCIL IN YOUR EYE?

Zzzzzzzzz another boring powerpoint presentation. No doubt we would all rather stab ourselves in the eye with a pencil than have to suffer this fate again. Unfortunately the reality is we all suffer from having to look at them, and also present them.

Surely there must be a better way… or at least some help and inspiration to better refine them and make it more interesting for all parties concerned.

Here are a few top tips to think about when you are next pulling together your slides.

Subject
What are you going to address and does the audience care about it?

What is your role
Leader, Expert, Cheerleader?

Audience
Are they there because they want to be, or have to be and what will they learn?

Format of presentation
What story are you telling?
To make it more interesting please use multimedia, illustrations, photos etc, not just text, graphs or tables.
Stick to one idea per slide for biggest impact

Takeaway
Is it clear and concise, and are there any next steps?

And remember like anything with good taste…. Less is more!

Here are some great examples for inspiration – http://www.slideshare.net/mrcoryjim/smoke-the-convenient-truth-5602255