Guest post by: Alesia Netuk of primarylearning.org
We live in an age of growing opportunities for children to utilize technology to create their writing. From typing, to stylus pens, to voice-to-text software, there are many ways children can write other than picking up a pencil. While technology can be efficient and also provide accommodations for children who struggle with traditional pencil and paper tasks, there is still value in learning to write.
Writing helps develop visual motor skills. This is the communication between the eyes and the hands that allows us to write. These skills are necessary for other tasks as well, such as reading or catching a ball.
Writing by hand is also believed by some to slow down our thought process and allow us to dedicate time to areas such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar. These skills can be supported by technology but ultimately, rely on our own knowledge of how to use written language correctly.
Paper grows trees...quite fast!Submitted by: Phil Riebel 03/10/2017
In North America, it takes less than 2 seconds to grow the fiber needed for a standard #10 envelope (on 100 acres of managed forests).
For many years, International Paper's "Go Paper. Grow Trees." campaign and "Print Grows Trees" operated by the Printing & Graphics Association MidAtlantic have been promoting the vital link between paper / print and the long-term retention of privately-owned (including family-owned) forest lands. In short, a strong market for pulp, paper, lumber and other forest products, does grow trees.
In North America we grow many more trees than we harvest. Forest area in the U.S. increased by 5,800 NFL football fields per day between 2007 and 2012, or a total of 14 million acres.[ii] In Canada, the forest cover has remained stable over the last two decades and, in recent years, Canada’s actual harvest has been 44% of annual growth.[iii]
To illustrate the powerful renewable features of well managed North American forests, we calculated how much time it takes to grow some well-known paper products: a standard #10 envelope and a ream of office copy paper (500 sheets). The results may surprise you!
Our calculation methods
It is possible to estimate the time needed to grow wood fiber for certain paper products on a given forest area. The results depend on which tree species are used to make these paper products and the age and growing conditions of the trees. Soil fertility and moisture, drainage conditions and the number of trees per acre all affect tree growth rate. Tree species also vary widely in their wood density: a higher density wood will produce more fiber for the same weight than a low density wood.
The necessary data and fiber growth rate calculations were obtained from the literature for nine tree species used in pulp and paper production and occurring under different growing conditions in the U.S. and Canada. The objective of this exercise was to develop estimates of the time it takes to grow the wood fiber necessary for the given paper products.
Click here to see our detailed data table.
The time required to grow the fiber needed for a #10 envelope is 0.3 to 1.9 seconds per 100 acres of managed North American forest.
The time required to grow the fiber needed for a ream of 500-sheet office paper is 0.3 to 2.2 hours per 100 acres of managed North American forest.
The fastest growth rates were for Loblolly Pine and Hybrid Aspen, and the slowest for Black Spruce, with climate and temperature playing a large role in growth rates.
Given the above, a forest land owner or tree farmer who has 100 acres of commercial pulpwood could produce enough wood fiber for the following products, with just the new tree growth achieved in 1 year:
Given the progress of sustainable forestry in North America, environmental claims related to forest products such as paper must consider the renewability and growth of well managed forests. In other words, claims such as “go paperless – go green” or “save trees” mislead consumers into believing that paper is a cause of deforestation (permanent forest loss) when it clearly is not. Well managed forests provide a multitude of environmental, social and economic benefits to thousands of North American communities. They are also key to helping mitigate climate change due to carbon sequestration, and promoting biodiversity compared to other land uses.
Forest products such as paper can support a vibrant and renewable forest cycle that can be sustainably managed for the long-term.[i]
For more on these features of paper, see our Two Sides Fact sheets or our Myths and Facts series.
Originally published at HowLifeUnfolds.com 2015 Paper and Packageing Board
Paper is the most recycled material in the U.S. today. And while recovery rates remain high, so too do misconceptions around what you can and cannot put into the recycling bin. The good news? The majority of municipalities are well equipped to handle just about anything. So the next time you pause before hitting the “print” button, or select electronic statements thinking you’re doing the environment a favor, consider that paper and packaging aren’t wasteful when recycled properly.
Embrace the bin; you can recycle more than you think.
What goes into the bin:
· White and colored paper from home, school or the office. Includes writing paper, copy paper, office folders, notebooks, stationary, etc.
· Cereal and dry food boxes, shoe boxes, laundry detergent boxes, etc.
· All mail and envelopes (including those with windows), postcards, greeting cards, coupon packets, etc.
· Boxes used for over-the-counter medicine, cosmetics or perfume; bakery or candy boxes; takeout food containers or beverage cups; pizza and frozen food boxes
· Corrugated cardboard boxes used for packaging or shipping
· Paper shopping bags from retail stores, grocery stores and restaurants
· Magazines and catalogs with glossy paper (no need to remove staples; paper mills today can handle that)
· Newspaper and newspaper inserts
· Juice, milk and aseptic cartons
· Telephone directories (just remove any plastic bags and magnets first)
· Hardcover or softcover books, wrapping paper (including the cardboard tube), old business cards, etc.
1. Every municipality is different. For example, cities across the country have varying guidelines to recycle pizza boxes. In addition to removing non-paper inserts or additional packaging (adhesive coupons, etc.) as well as any food residue, check your local recycling rules to see what other guidelines are in place.
2. Quality does matter. Try to remove all food residues and liquids from paper items before putting them in the bin. Make sure the item is clean and dry. Crumpled paper is still quality paper and goes into the recycling bin!
3. Books typically contain adhesives in their binding. Look online to find programs in your area that will accept old books and recycle them. Some municipalities may require that you remove the spines of hardcover books prior to recycling.
Content sourced from:
AF&PA: Paper Recycles Study (Recycling Resources), 2013
One of my biggest money saving tips when it comes to food is to bring your own lunch to work. That $5 you’re spending on a sandwich equals $25 a week, and $1,300 per year. This may not seem like a big deal, but considering that a homemade lunch only costs $2-3, you could be spending half of what you currently are, saving yourself $650 a year on workday lunches alone.
Most people probably realize that brown bagging lunch is the cheapest option, but the hard part is actually creating the habit of packing it. Here are my best tips for getting yourself to bring lunch to work a reality.
Some of my favorite healthy and budget-friendly lunches include:
Not only does packing your lunches for work save you money, it typically means a healthier meal. Win-win!
Who doesn’t love the fabulousness of Kate Spade? Especially when it comes to their super chic line of office accessories.
Sayah, The Office Stylist has partnered with My Pretty Office, a division of TwistOP to bring you a contest of total glitz and glamour! (And who doesn't love that?)
One lucky winner will receive a complete Kate Spade set including; acrylic stapler, tape dispenser, letter tray, water bottle, stripe and dot folders, dot notebook, gold pen set, gold pencil cup, gold bow paperclips, and their New York small pad so they can give their office a stylish makeover. The simplicity of the gold and acrylic matches almost anyone’s space!
To enter, click here . And if you can’t see yourself without this amazing set, you can get additional entries by liking
My Pretty Office and the Office Stylist on Facebook and following them on Twitter.
Sayeh, The Office Stylist is a Lifestyle Expert, Designer and Blogger who believes style should be accessible to all. In her blog, she shares her unique advice with her style savvy followers: everything from how to style your space to ideas on celebrating “bring your pet to work” day. Her expertise on working and living in style has earned her several partnerships with major brands and garnered her attention from ABC News, eHow, People Style Watch, House Beautiful, Lucky Magazine and many more. Visit her website: http://www.theofficestylist.com/
Thoughts from an expert
For as long as social media has been around, office managers have asked the question…Should employees be allowed to be on their personal social media accounts during the work day?
Some believe that banning the use of social media is the best way to keep employees focused. While others think allowing it promotes creativity.
With smartphones in everyone’s pockets, it is simply impossible to completely ban all usage. So instead of constantly looking over employees’ shoulders, integrate ways that the office can be interacting and promoting the company online.
In my past role as a social media manager at a company of about 30 employees, my co workers had little to no idea of the happenings on the company’s social media accounts. Some didn’t even follow the company’s pages! As I built the social media strategy for the year, I created campaigns that would allow for the employees online presence to cross over with that of the company’s own social media followers.
For example, during Halloween we gathered the employees together and gave each department a pumpkin to carve. I then took pictures of each pumpkin and posted them onto the company’s Facebook page for the fans to vote for their favorite pumpkin. The pumpkin picture (or department) with the most likes would win a prize. As the page followers began to like the photos, the employees jumped on their accounts and started sharing their pumpkin picture with their friends in order to receive more votes. As the pictures began to spread, so did the company’s brand.
The results were outstanding! Not only did the employees enjoy taking part in the fun activity, but it built such a stronger community between the employees and online fans. The company’s social reach grew exponentially!
The benefits out weigh the cost by far! Avoid wasting time monitoring employees and their social media use. Instead, find ways they can be utilizing it to help the company’s online brand and reputation grow. And it builds great report among the employees!
5 Ways To Tell That Spring Has Sprung From Your Cubicle When You're Overworked & Usually Go Home After Dark
Do you find yourself losing track of time? Is your cubicle in the middle of the office, far from a window or the happiness-inducing warmth of the sun and its vitamin D glow? Do you get to the office when it’s dark and leave when it has become dark again? Do you sometimes feel like Batman in that you only have time to prowl around in the darkness (maybe that’s just this writer)? Get some clues as to whether the weather is different with some helpful hints below.
1. Listen closely. Hear that? It’s not a stampede of snorting piglets–oh no, friend. Those organic squishy sounds are coming from your coworkers’ schnozes because Spring flowers are blooming outdoors (outdoors is the thing between your cubicle and your car). Some may be medicated, but make no mistake that at least one of your lunch buddies will be in drippy histamine anguish. That’s your first clue. See also: facial tissues flying off the shelf, sneeze symphonies, increased use of eye drops and choruses of “Gesundheit!”
2. As the temperature “outside” begins to increase, you will notice the business casual uniform around the copier beginning to vary. Don’t be alarmed to see a bare forearm or elbow–this is natural and normal. Although it’s hard to tell what the weather is like from the gloomy beige monotony of your workstation, consistent capri-pant and/or polo-shirt attiring illustrates clearly that the seasons have, indeed, changed over to Spring.
3. Similarly, the temperature in the office should reflect this change. Throughout the winter, the office thermostat has probably been hovering near 80 in an attempt to please everyone/cause inadvertent weight loss through sauna-like conditions. Now that the weather is warmer, though, expect a frosty film over your keyboard and computer screen each morning–the air conditioner is working hard to keep you comfortably refrigerated.
4. Check your email. Do you see various requests to join in any kind of “activity” (things people do “after work” in the space between the building and your car), like softball, volleyball, barbecues, run/walks for the cause, theatre in the park, etc.? This one is trickier, but the key is to identify that all of these events will take place mostly “outdoors:”–if so, it’s definitely Spring.
5. When you drive through the nearest acceptably healthy eating establishment (and, let’s be honest, if there’s a drive-thru how healthy can it be?), notice the seasonal selections. This may be difficult in the dark of evening when you’re tired from sitting mostly motionless in one place for roughly ten hours, excercising only your brain and fingers but it’s not impossible, pal. Look for “fresh” ingredients like strawberries and blueberries popping up in 1200 calorie salads. Observe breaded “fish” sandwiches that may or may not have come out of a tube. The colors are also usually a dead Spring giveaway
Twist OP is dedicated to providing solutions to make your job easier so that you can leave work in time to enjoy the crisp air and fresh blooms of spring! Call us today, as we like to say, "we are your FREE admin!"
If you enjoyed this post you can see more fun posts at the Tops Products Blog
By Avery Products Corporation
Haven’t filed your taxes yet? Neither have about 25% of other taxpayers. So, chin up. Take a deep breath. Then power through the process with these last-minute tax tips—and a little help from Avery.
Focus. Feel sharpest at a certain time of the day? Tax preparation requires concentration. And that’s especially true when you’re under pressure. So, work on your return when you’re peaking mentally. Snack on foods that fuel mental agility (such as almonds or walnuts), or boost your energy with a cup of green tea or coffee.
Gather that paperwork. Yes, it’s a pain. But, working on your return without first having all the necessary paperwork only makes the process longer. So, find whatever you need—which could include Forms W2, 1099-INT and 1098, as well as receipts for business, medical, real estate tax and charitable contribution payments. Use last year’s tax return to guide you. Make sure to only submit the forms and schedules the IRS requires.
Make organizing easier. Simplify the process of sorting paperwork by using different file folders for categories such as income statements, deductible expenses and investment information using Avery File Folder Labels.
Double-check your Social Security number. Believe it or not, many people incorrectly enter their Social Security number. This confuses the IRS—never a good thing. Besides, you’ll need an accurate Social Security number to qualify for credits, exemptions and deductions.
Make last-minute contributions. Many contributions must be made by December 31st of the previous year. But, you can often sneak in some tax-deductible contributions—such as IRA or Health Savings Account payments—before the April 15th deadline, and lower your tax burden. Check with your tax professional for more information.
Itemize. It’s tempting to just take your standard deduction when playing beat-the-clock with the IRS. But, itemizing could result in huge savings, especially if you’ve made large charitable, medical or real estate tax payments.
Sign the return. Sounds simple, right? Believe it or not, many taxpayers forget to sign and date their return. And that’s a problem. The IRS views an unsigned return as being invalid.
File electronically. Tax software speeds the preparation process, provides reminders about eligible deductions and catches most math mistakes. Many tax preparation companies offer free e-filings for basic returns, and the IRS provides free tax software to individuals who earn less than $60,000.
Ask for more time. Sometimes the smartest move is to request an extension. It’s better than rushing through your return, forgetting valuable deductions, overlooking required paperwork or making silly math errors. Filing Form 4868 usually gives you another six months to get your act together. You can also avoid late-payment penalties and possible interest charges by paying at least 90% of the estimated amount you owe. Can’t afford to do that? File for the extension, pay as much as you can and then set up a payment plan with the IRS.
Store in a safe place. Once your taxes have been filed, hold onto that paperwork. Keep your tax files in a protective storage container for future reference. Indicate what’s inside the container with Avery Full-Sheet Labels so they’re easy to identify at a glance. Use the free pre-designed templates on Avery Design & Print to create custom labels right from your printer in no time.
While Avery can’t figure your taxes for you, we can make the filing process simpler this year—and beyond. But don’t be too hard on yourself for being a tax procrastinator. It’s a busy world, and preparing your taxes may not be a priority for you. And, take solace knowing you have plenty of company. Just apply these tips to make the job a little easier…and then reward yourself when you’re finished!
It is something everyone wants. I have had business owners ask for it. Yet, they are the same ones who are consistently giving it away. It’s accountability.
It’s true we all want people who make decisions, are responsible and accept the good/bad outcome as a result. Yet at the same time, without realizing it we give away their responsibility, the ability to make decisions which in turns doesn’t hold them to the results.
Now, before you start screaming at the screen and saying it’s not true. Let me ask you a couple questions. Do you do any of the following:
Each time you answered “yes” to one of the above, you have taken away their accountability. I know, you are thinking “no, I’m telling how to work”. This is the same as giving a student the answer to the test.
Instead of giving the answers, ask for the answers. Ask your people “what do you think we should do?” or “what are suggestions to fix it?” or “what is the best way to go about it”.
Keep in mind this is not where it ends, this is the beginning of a conversation with more questions along the “why” or “how would that work”, etc. Give your thoughts or input and have them make the decision.
Think about it for a moment. When someone else told you how to do something – if it didn’t work was your reaction “I would have done it differently” or “I knew it wouldn’t work” or “not my solution, not my problem”. When you came up with the solution or course of action that didn’t work, your reaction is more like “what went wrong” or “how do I avoid this the next time” or “let me try this instead”.
See the difference in the mindset of the person. The second person is taking responsibility and therefore is being accountable.
What will you do differently next time? How can you change this with your people?
Need assistance with creating accountability. Let’s talk. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773.531.8199.
Andrea Herran, principal of Focus HR where she "Uncomplicates the People Side of Business" by providing HR services and leadership development to small businesses. Learn more at http://FocusHR.biz
Employee self-management is crucial to the success of any remote work program.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the year 2020, approximately 40% of the workforce will perform at least some of their work from home. As more companies opt for policies that allow telecommuting, the need for employee self-management has become crucial to the success of remote workers. Below are eleven habits teleworkers need to break if they want to succeed.
1) Working in pajamas
Sleep experts say that if you have trouble sleeping it helps to establish a bedtime routine, such as getting into your pajamas. It stands to reason, then, that part of getting ready for a productive day is getting OUT of your pajamas. “Getting dressed symbolizes the beginning of the day and helps get you into work mode,” says WorkteQ owner David Heilbronner.
2) Rejecting structure
Working from home can make a person feel like they’re the boss. No one to immediately answer to, no rigid schedules. But we need structure, and creating daily rituals is a good way build that.
Writing about morning rituals Seth Simonds explains, “Starting your day with a few simple tasks is an easy way to begin a cycle of results that’ll power you through your day.” What’s great is, unlike structure imposed upon you, rituals are centered around your personality and your life choices. (After this article was written, I came across a superb blog post by Sara Rosso, where she documented what made remote work at Automattic a success. You should read it too!)
3) Watching television
Our culture raves about multi-tasking. In actuality, multi-tasking causes attention split. While a little distraction might make projects we’re working on seem a little easier, it diminishes the quality of the work we’re doing.
Here’s an excellent read on what multi-tasking really does to our productivity. In a nutshell, multi-tasking makes us feel more productive because our busy-ness let’s us we think we’re doing more. The reality is that our attention is minimized in several activities, adding up to not much of anything.
4) Working around clutter
While there’s some debate over how neat a person’s desk should be, there’s little doubt that being in a room cluttered with kids’ toys or piles of paper on the floor can kill creativity and productivity. To refer to one UCLA study: “Similar to what multi-tasking does to your brain, physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively.”
Paraphrasing a study by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, in an article on Unclutterer.com , Erin Dodland wrote, “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.”
A cluttered house is not conducive to productivity, but cleaning when you’re supposed to be working isn’t any better. If necessary, set a time to clean before you start working, or set a cut off time for work to clean. Don’t mix the two.
6) Ranking tasks in order of difficulty
Many productivity experts have said that the best way to get things done is to tackle difficult tasks first. This makes sense, especially for people who procrastinate. And it sure feels good when the tougher items get crossed off our lists.
However, this isn’t always the best approach, particularly for people who work from home. Karen Southall Watts, speaking to the New York Times, says it’s best to “schedule your most demanding tasks during your natural periods of high energy, and do your planning and reflection when you are feeling less perky. When your energy is low, that’s not the moment to make 10 sales calls.” Since you have control over your schedule, this approach might be best since you are able to work on any activity you want at your own pace.
7) Responding to every call or email that comes in
I know, I know: you work alone and crave contact with the outside world. However, nothing eats up precious time more than email or unscheduled phone calls. Set up a voice message that not only informs callers you are not available, but tells gives them an idea of when you will return their calls. This is akin to an autoresponder for e-mail. It might seem a little annoying to the recipient, but it sets clear boundaries and saves you from answering each call and then repeatedly needing to cut each call short.
According to Juliette Garside, writing for The Guardian, “The average person is interrupted every three minutes during their working day...and our plethora of gadgets have made for more disruptions.” Furthermore, says Garside, “Interrupted tasks have been found to take twice as long to finish and contain twice as many errors as uninterrupted efforts: it can take between 12 and 20 minutes to resume a complex task after being interrupted.” Enough cannot be said about doing whatever it takes to eliminate unnecessary distractions.
8) Eating at your desk
Aside from dripping juice and dropping crumbs all over your keyboard being unsanitary, dining at your desk creates mindless eating which is bad for digestion. Mindless eating means food is gulped down in an effort to ward off anxiety, or to satisfy hunger as quickly as possible. Instead, take dedicated meal breaks. Pack your lunch the night before, if possible, to put some extra thought into what you plan to eat.
Perhaps more important than sanitary and digestive issues is that eating at your desk robs you of a much-needed mental break. According to Jon Yaneff, “When you don’t get proper nutrition – from missing meals or digesting them on the run – your work will suffer. When you always eat at your desk, you can feel tense and tired without an uninterrupted break.” Laura Vanderkam, writing in Fast Company, warns that “failing to take a real break is a recipe for needing a lot of unofficial and inefficient breaks--like random web surfing--later.”
9) Keeping Twitter and Facebook open
The mother of all distractions these days: Social media. If you’re like me, I act like a fiend when I have Twitter loaded: refreshing every other second, checking to see who wrote what, who’s following me, who just dumped me, etc. I use Facebook for more familiar socializing, and end up getting nothing done--except writing posts about how much I have to do.
Here’s a frightening claim: “Every time someone at work gets an IM, a Facebook message or a tweet, it takes them a whopping 23 minutes to get back on task. Taken all together, that costs the American economy $650 billion per year in lost productivity.” (LearnStuff.com)
10) Feeling parenting guilt
There’s no question that working from home has challenges. But nothing compares to working from home with children. However, as demanding as children are you have to let them know that when you’re working they wait for you, not the other way around. There’s no perfect solution for keeping kids at bay and avoiding the “bad mommy/daddy” feeling, but creating rituals with kids is helpful. The trick is consistency. Once you’ve established your own schedule and created your kids’ activities around them, allow for no interruptions unless there’s blood.
Geoff Williams, writing for USNews, suggests taking scheduled “kid breaks”. If you were working onsite you would take periodic breaks to chat with co-workers, so use those breaks for time with your kids. This helps alleviate feelings of guilt that you’re neglecting the kids, and gives your kids a chance to have you focused on them for short periods, preventing unexpected interruptions later on.
11) Staying on the clock
The truth is, telecommuters work longer hours than onsite employees. That five-second-commute that seems so attractive in the mornings also keeps work constantly nearby in the evenings, and sometimes late into the night. This causes life to become unbalanced. It is important to set limits on yourself and to stick with them when it comes to stopping work at a certain time each day. According to a study done by Captivate, leaving work at a reasonable hour was one of the top three ways people were able to find work-life balance.
Flexibility and balance are the primary reasons people opt to work from home. If, however, you never detach from your work you and your family will inevitably suffer. Says Adrienne Breaux, “[T]rying to fit checking in at work plus getting things accomplished around the house is a recipe for burnout.”
It’s time to adopt new habits
Burnout, strained relationships, physical ailments, and a plethora of other maladies can be the results of working from home if you are not mindful and prepared. Along with ensuring your technological needs are met, you also need to become a good manager of yourself. This means you have to take care of your needs, be willing to be the “bad guy” if necessary, and do what it takes to provide yourself a working environment that allows you to be productive and thrive.
About the Author:
Pamela La Gioia is Founder/CEO of Telework Recruiting, Inc., a leading career service helping professionals find telecommuting employment. Since 1999, La Gioia has been researching and writing about teleworking issues; and recently Telework Recruiting, Inc. has begun helping companies to train their staff to effectively telecommute. La Gioia can be reached at email@example.com. Or, connect with her on Twitter @TeleworkRec.
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