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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 July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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