Saturday, May 5, 2012

Freelance Writing in Paradise: 4 Productivity Tips for Writing on the Road

As a traveling writer (not to be confused with a travel writer!), the realities faced working from a laptop in the world's premiere vacation destinations do not escape me. I wouldn't trade my white sand beaches and palm-blanketed mountains for anything, but working in paradise does present challenges that demand some perseverance.

Of course, the largest obstacle is finding enough of an extremely scarce commodity called concentration. Everyone you meet seems determined to party around the clock - they're on vacation; can you blame them?

If I slaved away at a 9 to 5 and got two weeks off per year, I'd party like a rock star too.

But a perpetually-traveling writer moves at a different pace. We're out to savor the world, get to know its many flavors...not just take a bite and dash back home. And so to keep the dream alive, staying focused takes precedence over everything else.

Let's look at a few tactics you can use, shall we?

1. Split Your Attention

While it seems to counter the goal of staying focused, splitting your work time between two separate goals can actually lead to hyper-productivity. Let me explain.

I suggest two different paths for people who want to leverage writing for financial and location independence.

Freelancing serves as the first path-offering in-demand services provides a very substantial income these days. Another option is to spend your time creating content for your own business: building websites, driving traffic with your articles, and then referring information products (for which you claim a commission upon sales).

Both paths have their place. The first creates an income now, meaning you don't have to wait to go live your travel dreams. The other path, meanwhile, builds a long-term asset that grows over time and continues making sales even when you step away from your work.

Back to this idea of splitting your attention - let's bring this full circle.

Basically, I suggest you tackle both business models at once. Use half of your working hours to write for clients and use half of your hours to write for your own projects.

This approach motivates you to push forward because you make money now, but instead of solely building assets for other people, you build your own as well. And as your passive income streams grow, you can then take mini-vacations not only away from your country but away from your computer!

2. Take Afternoon Sabbaticals

Work hard to get things done, sure. But you didn't start down the traveling writer path to work your life away, right? Instead of working straight through the day, take three or four hours off somewhere in the middle (I take my free time after my first or second focused block of work).

Hey, you live in paradise, so take the time to enjoy your surroundings. And blowing off some steam makes you that much more productive when you sit back down later.

During this time, I run errands if need be, but I usually try to do something active, even though I work out in the morning. People who work on a computer all day should get some activity in twice a day.

My typical activities include heading to the local sports center, going for a motorbike ride, bowling, checking out a local attraction, and scuba diving. Anything that gets me out of my room and moving around.

3. Punishments and Rewards

Struggling to meet your productivity goals? Set checks and balances in place. By creating negative consequences and positive rewards, you tip the scales in favor of success.

Here's an example. If you want to obligate yourself to 5 days of work every week, tell a friend you will send them $20 via PayPal for every day you miss. And if you do get all 5 days of work in, treat yourself to dinner at a fancy restaurant at the end of the week.

Set up a similar system to obligate yourself to a morning workout. Be creative - what could motivate you to stick with a new habit?

4. Preserve Days Off

In addition to daily afternoon sabbaticals, take weekends off and stay away from the computer. If you can, make these completely offline days.

Time away from work gets you centered and recharges your drive.

Note that sometimes you'll need to split up your off-days throughout the week rather than taking a whole weekend. For instance, sometimes a mad dash to the border to update my visa upsets my schedule.

Don't worry too much when this happens, but stick with your set number of days off every week - believe it or not, your "vacation time" will increase the amount of work done each week, much like your afternoon sabbaticals.

And again, if living in paradise, you might as well enjoy the places you visit and live in. If you move around a lot, try staying in a new town for five days at a time, checking the place out while getting work done, and use the weekends for transit.

Top 5 Conference Venues in Edinburgh

As Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh plays host to hundreds of business events each and every year. Edinburgh has a wide and varied range of conference venues available for hire. This article will explore 5 top conference venues in Edinburgh, so the next time you need to organise an event in Edinburgh you will know where to go.

First up is an obvious choice for companies with a large budget or large scale event. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is Edinburgh's largest conference venue. Situated in the heart of Edinburgh's financial district the EICC is a spectacular venue that is widely used by businesses and charities of all sizes. The venue itself offers some incredible packages for events with an expected attendance of 150 to 2,000. Obviously as the largest venue on this list, prices to book a venue within the EICC will be a lot more than some smaller venues. If scale and grandeur is what your event requires then the EICC is the venue for you.

Next we have the Surgeons Hall, able to accommodate anywhere between 10 and 300 guests. The Surgeons Hall is a historic building built in 1832. The architecture is beautiful and very iconic of Edinburgh's old town. The Surgeons Hall has a large selection of conference venues on offer. The venue boasts all the latest technology and qualified staff on hand to ensure that your event goes without a hitch.

The Edinburgh Corn Exchange is a large conference venue in Edinburgh able to accommodate anywhere from 15 to 1500 people. The great thing about the ECE is that prices are tailored to the needs and requirements of each event. So despite being one of Edinburgh's larger venues, it can still end up being a cost effective solution to your events needs. The Corn Exchange is fully equipped with all the latest in Audio Visual technology. Catering is also on offer, so you can provide food and beverages for your events attendees.

For something completely different and unique you may be interested in the conference venues available at Dynamic Earth. With seven different spaces available, Dynamic Earth can be an exciting and memorable venue in which to hold your conference event. As far as conference venues in Edinburgh go, Dynamic Earth is truly unique, with its bold and modern design, scenic backdrops and prime location. With all the state of the art technology one could need, this is an extremely popular conference venue for modern and innovative businesses.

In terms of smaller venues there are many Hotels throughout Edinburgh that have conference venues available. Some of these include The Apex Hotel and the Radisson Blu. Most of these can be booked by contacting the hotel directly. As well as venue hire, these hotels can offer generous catering packages to ensure your conference event stands out from the crowd.

Airport Parking Has Gotten A Facelift

You have booked that long awaited vacation, are packed and ready to go, and the only thing left is to get to the airport. As you know, airport parking can be expensive and unsafe to leave your vehicle in for extended periods time. However, this has all changed with Gatwick Airport Parking. With new security checks being part of screening for your flight, by booking your Gatwick airport parking ahead of time, you will be able to clear the security checks faster. When you arrive, you will be assisted in getting your luggage organized for the security checks, and with five language televisions telling you what you can and cannot have on your flight will make things even faster. For Smartphone users, you can show your boarding pass at security gates, getting you through quicker. According to Gatwick airport, the whole process will only take about five minutes.

Gatwick airport parking has also introduced parking stalls that have electric charging ports for those with electric vehicles. You can charge your car for up to four hours, completely free. Along with this, because of the security regulations you cannot go from Gatwick parking areas or hotels to put your purchases into, so they have introduced 'shop and drop' storage. You can leave your items behind on your trip and pick them up when you return. This is great, because some airlines refer to shopping bags as luggage. In addition, Gatwick airport has implemented an area with benches for you to go through your hand luggage and put your make up and liquid items into free re-sealable bags. This will reduce your wait time in the airport.

There is more than just airport parking at Gatwick. You can choose off airport parking that is within easy reach of the airport. With transfers that operate on 15 or 20 minutes schedules 24 hours a day to and from the airport, you can check in your car and your keys at the same time for faster arrival to the airport. Once you have done this, your car will be taken to a secure compound so you are assured of its safety while you are on your trip. With options of luxury courtesy, Gatwick airport parking, both on and off, has the esteemed award of the Secure Parking Award from the Association of Chief Police Officers. So, when you fly out of Gatwick airport, you are assured that your car will be kept safe and sound while you are gone.

There are many different services available at the airport, including business, disabled and children's services, all designed to make your journey in the air as pleasant as possible. You have the option of transportation to and from the airport to a number of on and off airport parking areas, as well as petrol stations for convenience. With over 30 million passengers flying in and out of Gatwick airport each year, they are striving to be one of the best in the world in every aspect possible.

Carry on Luggage - Making the Best Selection

Traveling for business purposes is a very common reason for airline travel and the need for carry on luggage is equally common. Many people, though very educated, have a difficult time selecting the best carry on luggage that suits their needs. Most of the focus of this article will be about wheeled carry on bags. If you follow the information in this article you will have the knowledge to select the right carry on bag for your travels.

Carry on luggage with wheels is the most common type of carry on in use today. A good quality wheeled carry on bag provides much more benefit to the business traveler than ever before. The bags layout allows the business traveler greater capacities than old style carry on bags. This allows for more days of travel with a fresh change of clothes daily. Next are some basics to keep in mind when making your next purchase of a carry on with wheels.

Cost is always a consideration when buying new luggage. The price of a carry on bag is not always the best guide to show quality. Shop around but always compare "apples to apples" to give a fair price comparison before you make your final decision. Do keep in mind, higher price usually means more features except in the case of expensive designer bags. What I mean is; you usually get what you pay for when you buy luggage. Unless you really want the most expensive bag, stay with a mid-priced carry on. Usually the economy priced bags are not the best choice if quality is a concern. There are deals available if you check close out items from the previous year's inventory, which can save you some money.

Your next consideration of the carry on is quality of construction. The most popular carry on luggage today is the soft shell construction. Occasionally one will see the hard shell bags but they are becoming less popular among airline travelers. Of the soft shell bags, a dense nylon is the most commonly used material for the exterior shell of the bag. It is actually the same material that was used in military body armor many years ago. It was discovered that the woven ballistic nylon was not so great for body armor but is great for many other applications. The soft shell bags are very durable and lightweight which makes a great combination for the external shell for carry on luggage. Stay with a bag in the six hundred denier scale and your carry on will last for many years. Make sure the rolling wheels are durable and support the bag in an upright position when at capacity. The wheels should roll smoothly on hard surfaces and carpeted floors.

We always expect the items that we buy to be perfect, with no blemishes or defects of any kind, but that's not reality. Problems at the manufacturing stage occasionally do occur. That is why it's important to have a manufacturers warranty with any item that we purchase whether online or in a retail store. Always evaluate the product for factory defects or damages related to shipping. Make sure you can return the item for a full refund if you are not happy with your purchase. Most reputable businesses have a return policy so check with the manufacturer prior to purchasing the item.

Commercial Boiler Repairs and Servicing

When your business is equipped with a boiler, it is essential to keep the boiler in running condition, as it is the source to generate heat within the company. When something goes wrong with the boiler, it is just as essential to have the proper Commercial boiler repairs and servicing company that will provide you with expertise skill and experience to repair the boiler, all while being affordable.

Commercial boiler repairs and servicing companies should have expert knowledge in the repair and maintenance of the entire process if heating, power and processing boiler systems which are used in the commercial industry.

Whatever the equipment includes, the boiler repair and maintenance company should be able to complete the job in the most professional manner.

How to Go About Choosing the Right Commercial Boiler Repairs and Servicing Company

When the commercial business has a boiler as their heating system, they are in need of a boiler repair and service company. If not for the occasional breakdown, then for maintenance, and inspection. When you begin to search for a company that is best suited for your commercial business, then you want to select a company that has experience in the industry and one that is able to perform repairs on a variety of makes and models. It is important that the company has skilled technicians that have the experience and knowledge and has quick access to the necessary parts to make the necessary repairs. Select a company that does have vast experience in installing, maintaining and repairing the commercial boiler and one that does provide a speedy and efficient response. Although many companies may be great, if they do not provide speedy response to the repair call, or the company does not have access to the necessary parts to make the repairs, then the company may find that they are without a heat source for days or longer. It is very important that you choose a company that is noted in the industry as being reliable and having the proper knowledge, skill, response time and access to the necessary parts to make the repairs. Services Offered By a Commercial Repair and Service Company

There are many services that the commercial repair and service company will provide that include:

Boiler repairs
Code required boiler inspections, refractory and dry oven replacement
Fire brick
Cast iron boiler repairs
Welding repairs
Tube replacement
Boiler cleaning with high-power truck mounted vacuums burner and water treatment service
Risk assessment
Wet systems
Pipeline installation

This is just a few examples of what the commercial boiler repairs and servicing company will be able to provide. Regular scheduled maintenance should also be something that is provided by the service company and will help to ensure the life and functionality of the boiler. In many areas, a few days without heat can cost a tremendous amount, as it does interfere with the function of the business. Having a professional commercial boiler repairs and servicing company is the business owner's assurance that they will have the service of repairs and maintenance, when necessary.

6 Factors to Bear in Mind Before Doing Business in Brazil

Brazil is becoming one of the world's superpowers and as their economy gains momentum the developed world is taking a strong interest as their own markets continue to struggle. However, companies and individuals should learn about the cultural variances before embarking on any transcontinental business. A few of the common mistakes and things to bear in mind in order to make business practice flow easier are listed in this article.

1. Brazilians are a more emotive society, it is important to be friendly and welcoming when meeting a new potential business partners. You should remember to take the time to ask them about how they are, how their family is. Go for a drinks, dinner and dancing with your clients, they will appreciate getting to know the real person they are doing business with and will feel comfortable when it come to making the deal.

2. Bureaucracy is far thicker in Brazil than it is traditionally in western countries, before doing business you should expect things like opening bank accounts or getting loans to take a little longer than you may have been planning. Patience is the key when dealing with this as getting frustrated and irritated with personal involved in the process usually only serves to further slow the process.

3. Employment law in Brazil currently favors the employee and as a result Brazilian companies are usually very wary before taking on new staff. If you are taking on local staff then be sure to ask for references and if you can check if they have had any previous legal issues with their previous employer.

4. The public sector traditionally pays substantially more than the private sector. The majority of individuals hope to work directly for the government with much higher average wages but also the protective employment law where public sector employees can only be laid off for extreme negligence. It is important to bear this public sector competition in mind in terms of employee expectations when they are working for you in the private sector.

5. The vast majority of Brazil's economy is built on products, due to the vast amounts of natural resources that the country processes. Potential investors should bear the under developed service sector in mind when starting business. Primary materials may be of abundance but educated staff with previous professional experience may be much harder to find than in the west. It may therefore be advisable to bring across an educated core infrastructure to start training of local start when initially starting businesses.

6. Communication in the correct tone and form of Portuguese is essential in order to gain trust within a Brazilian environment. it is essential to use the Portuguese from Brazil rather than European Portuguese which is less well received.

Learning to Drive in a Big City

Learning to drive is an important step in anyone's life and when you first get behind the wheel for your first driving lessons it can be an exciting, but also a nerve wracking experience. Depending on where you live will typically dictate where you learn to drive. For some people this is the countryside or a small town but for others who live in big cities such as London, Manchester, and Leeds.

Learning to drive in a big city is very different from learning how to drive in a small town and many people would regard it as more challenging. Therefore it is particularly important to make sure that you are taking driving lessons with a company with a good reputation and solid teaching record.


If you are learning to drive in the city then you are typically going to have to face more hazards, more often. Even if you are learning to drive at a very quiet time of the day you are more likely to see people on the streets than if you are outside of the city. As well as pedestrians, the streets are likely to be busier and you are going to have to pay extra attention to make sure that you do not collide with other cars.

In recent years, city cycling has become very popular and despite the increasing number of cycle routes in UK in cities you will still find many cyclists on the road. As a general rule cyclists have not had to pass any sort of test to get on the road so you cannot rely on them knowing the rules of the road and obeying them. Cyclists should be aware of drivers and be careful but it is also the responsibility of the drivers to avoid cyclists.

Rush Hour

Any reputable company offering driving lessons will not take you out in rush-hour traffic until you are ready. Once you have mastered the basics and your instructor feels you are aware of hazards on the road then you can tackle rush-hour, but never rush into it. The increased traffic can be an overwhelming and, quite frankly, dangerous experience.

One Way Systems

When taking driving lessons, navigating a one-way system can be a complex process and you will find that roads you might normally be allowed to turn down are off-limits. Fortunately you're driving instructor will ensure that you don't go down the wrong road. Pay attention to the system, and remember how to navigate the one-way roads by looking at road signs - if you just remember how to navigate only that one-way system, when you come to another you will not know where to go.

There is no question that driving in the big city is a very different experience and learning to drive elsewhere and is arguably harder than learning outside of the city. You are most likely to have success with your driving lessons in Leeds and other major cities if you choose a good instructor.

Using Incentive Travel Programs to Boost Company Spirit

Employees require some form of incentive to gain a positive view of an employer. Economy blunders have not only stressed individuals in regards to their current job status, but also make it very difficult for people to travel and take a much needed break from the norm. Companies are beginning to see the benefit of incorporating reward programs for the purpose of raising worker spirits as well as improving areas where performance has not been up to par. Incentive travel programs are slightly different since they provide a unique opportunity for groups to experience a destination that may not otherwise be possible. For many years, organizations have offered rewards for small scale goal achievements. These items might be an office object with the company logo or a special dinner. While this type of reward provides short term encouragement, they do not cut the cake for yearly performance or long-term achievement goals. Travel based approaches offer participants something that is not easily obtainable. Participants work harder to meet goals because the end result is very desirable. With these programs, only those who fulfill the reward objectives are able to receive the bonus compensation.

Incentive Travel Companies Help Companies Offer Irresistible Motivation

Incentive travel companies are services who outsource programs to organizations at a budgeted price. These plans can be utilized by a business to increase workplace morale by offering an amazing opportunity to those who perform well. The life cycle of hiring and retaining employees can be grueling on even the most stable companies. Organizations offer higher pay to acquire the employees with the highest skill level. This initial incentive gets necessary skill sets in the door but does not maintain staff morale as workloads and expectations increase. Highly skilled staffs may become less satisfied with their position or may experience diminished spirit to excel as workloads increase. Companies must provide incentives beyond good pay to keep their best employees and maintain individual job satisfaction.

The services of incentive travel companies have become very popular because they can be applied in any organization regardless of the staffing size.

Implementation reasons differ but the most general goal is to motivate employees to accomplish something or behave in a specific manner. Travel plans help organizations increase assets, customer bases, and overall sales. Plans may be customized to fit the individual needs of a company. These incentives have been proven to provide a lasting impression whereas monetary rewards rarely supply the same effect.

Businesses typically rely on one or the other to increase employee spirits across the board. Travel plans may also be part of a customer based program where the largest customers receive a reward for their loyalty. Plans are not as expensive as an organization might assume and provide reimbursement by supplying higher returns. A well thought out program is capable of increasing sales by as much as twenty-five percent. Incentive travel programs can be used to improve attendance, behavior, performance, and meet specific goals. Recently, these approaches have been incorporated to inspire improved attitudes for a better working environment.

Bus Rental Is An Easy Choice In Transportation

The truth is that if you want to travel these days you can go via plane, train, car or you can use a bus charter service, especially if you need to carry nine or more people. Hiring a bus service can be quite a nice change of pace and can be a lot less expensive than flying. If you are a company or an organization that needs to carry people for a long distance, chartering a bus makes a lot of sense. If you've ever had experience with public transportation, you've no doubt ridden on uncomfortable vinyl seats, bumpy rides, and no luxuries. A school bus is a good example. But to charter a bus, the experience is altogether different.

The benefits of a bus charter service are many. For one thing, each person will have the opportunity to sit back and relax the entire trip. Enjoy watching the scenery go by. Take naps. You can't do this if you are driving. Unless you fly first class, there's not a lot of room for real relaxation on an airplane either. A bus service will allow you to set the itinerary to what you need it to be. You can even set the roads, if you wish to take your passengers through a more scenic route, you can. If you wish to stop more often, you can.

To rent from a bus charter service means you can count on both the experience of the bus driver and be assured the bus has been well maintained. Make sure to really research the bus service, drill them about their maintenance and find out the last time the bus needed service or a repair. Ask them what they do should a breakdown happen. This should give you peace of mind, knowing that you and your passengers are in safe hands and will arrive at your destination safe and secure.

A lot of the bigger buses offered from a bus charter service may have facilities other than just comfortable seats on board. Many will have a restroom with a toilet and sink. Some may have a shower. The more decked out buses will have a kitchenette and even private sleeping quarters. The best thing about acquiring chartered bus service is the privacy. If you need to conduct meetings on the road, you can. Chartered services offers both privacy and comfort.

Renting a bus charter service to transport you and your passengers for a long distance is a very cost effective mode of travel over other traditional transportation means. You will be able to work with the bus service to come up with the perfect plan for you and your travel mates, instead of being at the mercy of airports, bus or train stations. You can by-pass all of that and step on board a private bus that will carry you to your destination with little effort on your part. Plus private charters are a lot more roomier than the public transport buses, no need to cram together. You will have plenty of elbow and knee room.

The Most Technologically Advanced Cities

There are many measures used in determining the most technologically advanced cities, with some focusing on technologies that assist business, others on technologies associated with government, and still more that focus on how accessible technology is to the region's population. Information and communication technologies are important factors in these measures, both of which are essential to the success of many businesses, especially those - small and large - that operate in today's global business landscape.

Learning from Seattle

This northwestern city ranks number one on many lists of the nation's most technologically advanced cities because retail giant Amazon and Microsoft are based here. These two companies, naturally, are hugely tech reliant and Seattle has been referred to as "the next Silicon Valley" by Canada's Connected Rogers Magazine. That's not just because of Amazon and Microsoft, but also because of the number of new tech industries choosing Seattle.

These new industries can face quite a struggle when it comes to competing for tech talent in the face of stiff competition for the best and brightest. And, naturally, there is a tech sort of solution for the situation -applicant tracking systems complemented by solid recruitment tracking software. Using such efficient and affordable solutions can help recruitment efforts significantly by aiding in the location of specially skilled, promising individuals and tracking efforts and progress at luring them into the business fold. One thing to learn from such technologically advanced cities as Seattle is that, when used correctly, technology can be the great equalizer.

Other Tech Promising Regions

As noted by the World Economic Forum, technologically advanced cities are found throughout the world. Technology is what allows just about any business, small or large, to become a global player. Technological advancement has pushed nations like India and China onto the world stage, increasing their economic power. Indeed, on some measures, the Nordic nations rank higher than the United States in terms of technological advancement.

Regions like the Bay area in California - San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley - and east coast areas like Boston and Raleigh, North Carolina, known in conjunction with Durham and Chapel Hill as the "original technology triangle," still rank high for technological advancement, but United States domination in the category of top technologically advanced cities isn't a given anymore. We can soon expect to be outpaced by nations that, according to the standard measures, are not as wealthy as the US.

The computer systems and software of today can reduce the cost of doing business while increasing efficiency, both of which are important factors in competition and success, whether locally, regionally, nationally or globally. If a business can't afford to run a fully staffed human resources department, they don't have to in order to remain competitive. They can use targeted technologies, such as recruitment tracking software and an applicant tracking system, and a handful of dedicated human resource professionals.