Telecommuting has many advantages to offer, including a better work-life balance, increased productivity, reduced transportation costs and greater flexibility in hours worked. Here are four jobs you can do from home.
1. Virtual assistant
A virtual assistant provides a host of creative, technical and administrative services in corporate, legal, medical and other settings. What’s great about marketing yourself as a virtual assistant is that you can tailor your offered services to what you’re good at. That said, the greater your skillset, the higher your earning potential will be.
Knowing more than one language can be a marketable skill, one you can put to use by working as a translator or interpreter. If you have a background in a particular discipline or industry, you can draw on it to market yourself as a specialized translator. There are many translation opportunities in both the private and public sectors.
3. Web developer/designer
These days, almost every company and public organization has a website, and they need people to create, maintain, modify and update them. In addition, web design and development skills are easy to combine with other areas of expertise, such as advertising and graphic design.
This is a perfect occupation if you want to work from home, either full or part time. You’ll probably have to meet clients from time to time and you can expect a busier schedule during tax season.
While there are many opportunities to secure remote jobs, be on the lookout for work-from-home scams, which have become more common in recent years. Be sure to research anyone you work for and to seek out employee reviews online.
An overview of ‘eco-design’ and ‘eco-friendly’ products
Do you want to be a more eco-conscious consumer? Here’s what you need to know about ecological design and eco-friendly products, so you can use your purchasing power for the good of the planet.
An “eco-design” product or service is one that’s created using methods of production that limit its environmental impact. This approach requires companies to take various factors into consideration, including the environmental and financial costs, the lifespan of the product, and the ways the manufacturing process can be optimized. In some cases, eco-certification standards must also be considered.
Additionally, when a company develops a product in accordance with ecological design principles, it takes into account the environmental impact of every step in the manufacturing process, from sourcing materials to product distribution. This includes the potential depletion of natural resources, pollution, greenhouse gas emission, and energy consumption.
By creating products in this manner, companies can meet both the expectations of increasingly eco-conscious consumers and the requirements of local environmental protection regulations.
Products and services are considered eco-friendly if they provide the same or better results compared to the generic version, while also creating considerably less air, water, or land pollution. These products are generally manufactured using eco-design principles, but they also have little to no impact on the environment during their lifespan. Additionally, eco-friendly products are either biodegradable or can be recycled or repurposed as part of a circular economy.
If you want to use your purchasing power to help protect the environment, find out which local businesses have eco-friendly initiatives and practices, and be sure to buy their products or services.
4 activities to teach kids about the environment
Do you want to teach your children about the importance of protecting the planet? Here are four fun activities you can do as a family.
1. Gardening. Whether you grow herbs on a windowsill or plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, this is a hands-on way for children to learn about responsibility and how food grows.
2. Planting a tree. Once it’s in the ground, encourage your kids to observe how their tree changes with the seasons and provides a home for animals. They can even give it a name.
3. Crafting. Challenge your kids to make art out of cardboard boxes, bottle caps, plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and other recyclable materials. A quick online search will provide plenty of inspiration.
4. Exploring. Children can learn a lot simply by getting close to nature on a hike or bike ride. Alternatively, you can visit a local farm, botanical garden, or wildlife refuge. Many places also offer virtual tours.
Regardless of which activity you do, make sure to use the opportunity to start a conversation with your kids. Depending on their age, you can talk about how the environment affects their lives, why it’s important to respect nature, and the ways they can help protect the planet.
Mark your calendar!
On April 22, celebrate Earth Day as a family by coming up with ways you can be more eco-friendly at home and in your daily lives.
Signs of a nitrogen imbalance
Your garden’s soil needs to contain the right amount of nitrogen to ensure healthy plant growth and reproduction. Here’s how to spot an imbalance and what you can do about it.
If your plants don’t have access to enough of this essential nutrient, they’ll look sickly and their leaves will eventually yellow and fall off. A nitrogen deficiency will also affect the plant’s growth, possibly delaying the production of flowers and fruit.
While your plants need plenty of nitrogen to thrive, an excess will prevent them from blooming or producing fruit. Nitrogen toxicity is also characterized by extremely dark green leaves, sometimes with brown, crispy edges.
What to do
If you suspect that your garden has a nitrogen imbalance, test the soil to confirm. This will ensure you don’t add too much and create an excess. However, if the test reveals a deficiency, you can use an organic fertilizer such as compost to add nutrients to the soil.
Pick up a soil testing kit and organic fertilizer at your local garden center.
How to stop yelling at your kids
After a bad night’s sleep or a stressful day, it doesn’t take much for parents to lose their temper. While yelling can feel good at the moment, you’ll likely feel guilty afterward if you raise your voice in front of your kids. Here are a few tips to help you keep your composure.
Reassess your responsibilities
Do you often feel overwhelmed by your hectic schedule? If you’re getting pulled in a million different directions, it’s normal to lose your cool. Parents often feel like they have to put other people’s needs before their own, but this can leave them overworked and make them quick to have an outburst.
Consider whether you can redistribute chores at home or cut back on the tasks that demand your attention. Additionally, be sure to make time to recharge each week with activities you enjoy.
Be consistent with discipline
Laying out clear rules about how your kids are expected to behave can reduce the likelihood of losing your temper. Additionally, consistent punishments will ensure your children know the consequences of breaking the rules. It’s also important that both parents be on the same page about the rules in order for them to be effective.
Learn to reign in your reactions
In the heat of the moment, shouting can feel like an automatic response. However, there are several things you can do to dissipate your anger before it boils over:
• Verbalize your emotions by saying “I’m very upset, and I want to scream”
• Take several deep breaths and count to 10 slowly in your head
• Go to another room or step outside for a few minutes to calm down
Finally, don’t hesitate to use babysitting services, parent helplines, and other resources that can give you the support and advice you need to foster a more positive home life for you and your kids.
How to protect plants during a heat wave
Hot weather can wreak havoc on your garden. Here’s how to protect your plants during a heatwave.
High temperatures can dehydrate your garden, so apply a liberal layer of mulch to reduce evaporation. Opt for light-colored mulch such as dry grass clippings, as this will reflect sunlight and help keep the ground cool.
If you water your plants early in the morning, you’ll give them more time to absorb the water before it evaporates. This will help protect shallow roots from dehydration and reduce the risk of heat stress, which is essentially a plant sunburn.
Install shade cloth over your plants to protect them from the sun during periods of extreme heat. You can find this product in various sizes at your local garden center. Just be sure not to enclose the plants, as this will trap heat and reduce air circulation.
Finally, remember to protect yourself as well. Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat when you garden, and avoid strenuous outdoor work during heat waves.
Caregiving: How to get into a smaller place
Sometimes, perhaps at retirement or maybe after the loss of a spouse, seniors quickly realize it is time to move to a smaller place with fewer responsibilities relating to home and garden maintenance.
It is a huge task: Finding a new place, sorting through belongings, selling the old and buying the new, moving, setting up, and settling in.
Often, though, seniors might like to move but wonder how they can manage the huge project. Adult children might wonder how they can possibly fit a task of this size into their busy lives. They might not even understand why the move is even necessary. They might think mom or dad are fine where they are.
So, if you want to move, tell everyone with no reservation and tell them you need help with the project.
Here is a brief idea of how to plan your move. You’ll need six months, with help from family and friends.
1. Spend some time sorting through keepsakes. Some keepsakes can come with you. Some, like old photos, can be distributed to the family. Securely pack the keepsakes you are taking and move them to your storage unit.
2. Identify a suitable apartment location, even if you are not ready to move in. Be sure to try senior living locations and look at places near family or friends. Once you find the right place, you can get a sense of the size and decide what you can take with you.
3. Identify the furniture you want to take to the new apartment. You may also be able to buy new things if your existing furniture is to be sold or donated. Identify the things that will go with the house at the sale: appliances, for example.
4. Sell things that you won’t need. Friends and family might be able to sell more expensive items piece by piece. However, at some point, you will be left with a variety of things unsold. You have choices with these leftover items. A junk hauler will take almost anything away, even big items, and the cost should be reasonable.
If you have furniture, silverware, dishes in a quantity that you haven’t sold, an auction house will often send a person out to pack up everything, sell it for you, then give you a percentage of the sale.
5. Once the old house is pretty much cleaned out, you’ll want to rent an apartment and arrange to move.
6. As soon as the house is cleaned out, hire a real estate agent and sell.