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15 Websites You Should Know To Make Your Life Easier

15 Websites You Should Know To Make Your Life Easier

One thing that people don’t seem to talk about enough when it comes to the Internet is its daily utility. The whole thing with social media and whatever world-changing stuff it does is great, but the Internet as a tool for making one’s life easier doesn’t get as much mention as it truly deserves. Therefore, there should be some more focus put on that aspect of the Internet, which is definitely something that users do seem to take for granted.

Just think of it as your online tool kit of sorts. We all have tasks we have to complete that involve the Internet in some fashion, and there are various websites that cater to these needs. If you don’t have one yet or you already have some that you use, perhaps these fifteen websites can help make your life easier.

1. Calorie King

If you’re very concerned about how the food you’re eating is affecting your weight loss efforts, then you can visit this website and get the lowdown on how many calories that cookie or chocolate bar is. You can also plan your meals in advance by picking the most nutritious and low-calorie foods in order to help you lose weight as well.

Calorie King also has other tools for helping you control your weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, as well as a blog that can regularly provide you with more helpful tips and information on your way to a healthier life.

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2. Mint

Perhaps the most popular online personal finance management service that’s also free-to-use; Mint is a powerful tool for managing your expenses, creating budgets, and monitor your savings. You can sync your bank accounts to it and have a one place for planning your financial present and future. Having something like this is invaluable for those who really value their money, and it can help even the most confused of people become financially literate.

3. Website Setup

Designing websites usually consist of being knowledgeable about the fundamentals of visual design and being well-versed in HTML, CSS, and even Javascript. However, not everyone who needs to design a website are proficient in those things, and even fewer have the budget for hiring a professional web designer to do it for them.

Website Setup features a free and comprehensive guide to creating a website, from setting up a content management system like WordPress or Drupal, installing plugins, customizing themes, and so on. With Website Setup, you can become a web designer in your own right easily.

4. Codecademy

In this day and age, being fluent in a programming language is such a boost in one’s effectiveness in this world. For those who are looking to learn how to code, Codecademy is the number one online destination for instruction. You’ll get a rundown of the very basics of programming and learn just about any major programming language you wish. Whether it’s Javascript, Python, Ruby, C++, or so on, you can learn the ropes here.

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5. Let Me Google That For You

This one is a rather amusing website, but it’s there for good reason. All of us have friends who like to ask the most seemingly basic questions, taking up your time and patience even when there’s the whole Internet right in front of them to give them the answers they seek. You can use this website to do two things—remind them that they can just search it in Google and to get out of your hair.

6. Polish My Writing

Writing can be a fulfilling vocation, whether you do it professionally or just like to write blogs and journals about your life and experiences. However, not everyone has the confidence to write due to worries about grammar and spelling, as well as not being well-versed enough in vocabulary and the art of putting one’s thoughts into words

This website can help you learn more about these things and become the writer you thought you’d never be. It has tools for checking grammar and spelling, as well as other resources for improving your writing.

7. Mathway

Most people have a lot of trouble with math, and it’s something that can’t be avoided in life even if we think that it barely gets used. Whether it’s doing one’s taxes or even just determining whether there’s enough money for groceries, math is something you wouldn’t want to be weak at. Whether you’re a student who needs help with an exam the next day or just someone who’s sick and tired of being weak at math, Mathway can help you become a lot less confused with numbers.

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9. Wilderness Survival Skills

If you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast who is into camping, mountaineering, and so on, then you’d be aware that they call for a certain set of skills that need to be honed. To help you better prepare for these endeavors, you may need the right information on things like how to build a fire or what to do when you encounter a certain something in the wilderness. This website is perfect for those who need to learn more about what to pack, how to navigate, how to survive the outdoors, and so on.

10. Strip Creator

If you happen to be a more creatively driven person who likes to experiment with different things, or someone who’s gotten into making comics, then Strip Creator can make things easier and more interesting for you. If you want to make comic strips that show off your ability to create characters and convey your sense of humor, then this website should help you achieve that with relative ease.

11. DIY Courses

Want your child to have more focus on the creative side of things? DIY Courses has online courses for kids that are taught by the world’s most creative experts. With it, you can help unlock your child’s creative potential without having to go somewhere to attend. These courses can be taken wherever you want, as long as there’s Internet access. It costs $15 per month, but it is worth it.

12. The New York Times Cooking

Perhaps you’re looking for new recipes to try. There are plenty of culinary websites out there, but this one is a bit different. The New York Times happens to have a cooking section wherein they have some of the very best recipes you’ll ever find on the Internet, curated by some of the most well-known names in the culinary world, including the likes of Nigella Lawson and so on.

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13. Have I Been Pwned?

Online security is always a concern, even if you’re just an average joe or jane who doesn’t care much for his/her email or social media account. But do know that it does matter since it’s your personal stuff being compromised when you get hacked, and some pretty dire consequences can come out of it. If you suspect that something you own just got hacked, you may go to this website and verify that, then know more about what you can do to address that problem and perhaps prevent it in the future.

14. The Lonely Planet Shop

Lonely Planet has been long known for being the biggest travel guide book publisher in the world, and they’ve been doing it online as well for a long time now. Their shop is full of stuff that you may want to take with you on your adventures, and the main site itself should be helpful for gathering information about your destination. Whether it’s learning about the best places to go or how to travel on a budget, that website is great for that.

15. Norton SafeWeb

Norton has been a well-known name in computer security for ages now, and it has its own online security arm that helps with preventing malicious attacks through the Internet. If you’re worried if there’s a virus, malware, trojan horse, or whatever in a suspicious-looking link, then go to this website, enter that URL, and check to see if it’s safe. You can also download an extension to your browser that can do that for you automatically.

16. Nolo

It’s law for all, as it says on the title banner. This website provides legal advice for the every-man who may be worried about getting on the short end of the legal straw. Through Nolo, you can find answers to your legal questions, research various legal topics, read blogs to learn a bit more about the legal world, FAQs for the most nagging of questions, and so on. You can do all of this even before hiring a lawyer, which is great if you want to have every bit of an edge you can get.

These are just some of the many websites that can make tasks more efficient and your life a whole lot easier. It’s a great time to be alive due to the Internet being there for everyone, and you may have your own set of websites that you make use of on a daily basis. If any of these fifteen gets added to your list, then that’s definitely a good thing.

Featured photo credit: Liquene via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 9, 2020

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More Leadership Tips

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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