Finding Calm Amidst the Chaos

I’ve written about how helpful meditation has been to keeping me grounded and sane, especially during stressful times when work and life are busy. For my irregular schedule, I find it easiest and most beneficial to do small meditations – sometimes only two minutes – throughout the day. My husband knows how much I find these breaks helpful and recently shared a website with my that is designed specifically for taking a calm, peaceful break. The website is aptly named The site itself is simple and easy to use: choose a background (if you’d like to look at a peaceful image) and then choose a meditation method – guided or non-guided, and finally choose a length of the meditation.

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Post-Vacation Overload and Recovery

We returned from a great family vacation almost a month ago and I’ve been digging out from a big post-vacation workload. About two weeks ago, things really caught up with me and my regular coaching session turned into crisis management. My mind felt like I had a bouncing ball inside it – I was flitting from task to task, my regular system was not up to date, I was working non-stop with no breaks and I was battling regular headaches – a sure sign of being overly stressed for me. When I reached out to my coach, De, for help, she helped me take a step back to look at what was going on and also to get back to my regular habits of work and stress management.

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Effective Communication in Web Design

The average business person sends and receives 140 emails every day. That’s a lot of time spent reading, decoding, writing, editing, and re-writing emails. I find email communication essential to doing my job well: because I have a young family and my kids are with me at different times during the day, I rely on email to do most of my communication. The challenge with email is that it’s not always easy to communicate clearly and effectively without ambiguity or confusion. Reading, responding and understanding an email is a time-consuming process, so becoming a better emailer is in my best interest.

I read an article recently about giving clear, understandable instructions to employees and I realized I could interpret these suggestion to give my clients tips on how to provide clear instructions when sending me website updates. This article inspired me to do some additional Googling and thinking about what makes an effective email. Here’s what I came up with:

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Unwanted Ads and Malware on Your Website

This week’s tip is about removing unwanted ads from your website. In the past few weeks, I’ve had questions from clients about advertisements popping up on their websites. Their concern was whether I had put ads on their websites or whether their websites had been hacked. This is a good question and I thought I’d write up a post about it because it happens fairly often. The short answer is that, unless we’ve discussed putting advertisements on your website, you should not have pop-up ads appearing on your site. Most times, the issue is not that there are ads specifically on your website. Instead, your local computer has probably been infected by a virus or malware and you’re seeing pop-ups on many sites — not just on your business website. Here are a couple of examples of what these ads may look like:

Spam adSpam ad

While most times these ads are being generated by malware on your computer, there is a chance your website may have been hacked, so it’s always important to check with your webmaster to verify your site is secure. If the pop-up ads are from malware or a virus, I recommend using Malwarebytes to scan and remove any unwanted programs from your computer. They offer a free and premium version and I’ve always had success with the free version. Depending on the type of infection you have, you may need to take further action to remove the malware/virus.

Image by Bes Z (CC BY 2.0) via flickr

Back in the Saddle

Summer was wonderful and I’m sad that it’s coming to a close.  The kids are both back in school and that means my schedule has changed.  I’ll have more dedicated work time than I’ve ever had in the last 6 years. In some ways, I’ll miss the relaxed, lazy days where we made last minute plans or just played in the creek in our backyard all morning.  But, I’m also really looking forward to getting back into a regular routine and having more time to focus on my business.  I tend to struggle with finding time for my business and with a reduced work schedule, that was nearly impossible this summer.  Now, fall is almost here and I plan on getting back into regular blog posts and weekly tech tips – two things I’ve come to really love!

One thing that surprised me when I was reflecting about what I did and didn’t do for my business this summer, was that I’ve really missed writing for my website.  The process of writing has been incredibly helpful to me in terms of processing my goals for my business and it’s also helped me refine just what I want to do with my life.  I love my business and what I do, and the more I do it, the more I realize and understand just what aspects of my business I like and which ones I don’t enjoy so much. My monthly blog posts have gone a long way to clarifying the direction of my business.

Besides writing, I plan on setting aside one day a week for no meetings. This means I’ll have one day that’s completely dedicated to working on client work or other business work. I wasn’t always able to do this last year or in the summer and now, I’m finding that I need that dedicated work block to get in some focused coding or design time.

Those are my two immediate goals as fall arrives and I’m sure I’ll need to adjust and change and I figure out what schedule really works for me. It feels good to be typing this post and I’m looking forward to spending more time writing and updating my portfolio (which is definitely in need of some freshening up)! And, of course, I’m looking forward to launching some really cool websites this fall. I’ve been lucky to work with some great clients this summer and we’re close to wrapping up their websites. Keep an eye out for updates soon!

Image source: SLSA PRG 280/1/11/442

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