{Convention Post #2} Spotlight Interview with Carole Guess, “How The NDSC Convention Has Impacted Our Lives”

setting the pace “I am a ‘mom-parenting-solo’ of an active nine-year-old living with . For me, the convention is truly a family reunion. That feeling of extended family and support is priceless,” said Carole Guess, mother of Evan.

Guess is one of more than 2,500 people are expected to take part in the 2014 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in

Why?  In less than 2 weeks I will be blogging at the 42nd Annual National Down Syndrome Congress taking place in Indianapolis, IN. National Down Syndrome Congress

Yes that’s right a convention that brings together families and professionals in the Down Syndrome community, and I have been asked to be a part of it.  I feel extremely honored and excited to have been asked to attend as a Special Needs Mom Blogger and Health Advocate.

The NDSC Convention boasts the largest annual gathering in the world of self advocates, parents, siblings and professionals associated with Down syndrome.  More than 2,500 people are expected to take part in this event.  Families, professionals, doctors to therapists will be at this 3 day event.

This is the first post of a series of posts about email for entrepreneurs

How often do you check your email? Every hour? Every few minutes? Or is it every time that little “unread” number pops up?

If you suffer from email overload, that little number can make you crazy – and plenty unproductive as well. But a little discipline and a good plan can help you tame your email and regain some of your sanity to boot.

Better Email Settings for a More Productive Work Day

First, do you really need to check your email every five minutes? That’s the default setting for a lot of email clients, but that kind of instant receipt is almost always unnecessary. A better idea is to set your email client to only grab email on demand, meaning if you don’t ask for your emails to be downloaded it won’t happen.

If you can’t (or won’t) rely on manual downloading of emails, at least turn off the “unread” notification or for me I turned off the sound for new email notification. That way you won’t be tempted to rush off to read every email that comes in, even when you’re up to your eyeballs in a project.  mail-icon-117-messages

Ideally, you want to limit checking of emails to three times per day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and at the end of the day. But here’s the thing – you have to “process” those emails at the same time. You can’t let them sit around to answer later, or that defeats the whole purpose.

A Systematic Approach to Email Processing

What do you do when you open your email client? If you’re like most people, you browse the subjects, open the most interesting ones first, make a decision about what needs to happen with it, then move on to the next.

This is a serious waste of time because you end up opening, reading, and making decisions about the same emails again and again, every time you look at your inbox. There’s a better way.

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”
recommends a triage approach to email that leaves your inbox empty every time you look at it. Here’s how it works.

For every email you open, immediately decide if it requires action or not. If not, either file it (if it contains information you might need later) or trash it. If the email requires action – whether it’s a to-do item for a project or simply needs an answer – you have three choices: do it now, do it later, or get someone else to do it.

If it’s going to take just a couple of minutes (i.e. you just need to write a two line response), then do it and trash the email. If it will take longer than that, add it to your to-do list for later, then trash the email. If you want someone else to do it, forward it to them.

No matter which choice you made, the email does not stay in your inbox. It’s either filed, done, or added to a to-do list (yours or someone else’s).

Do that for each email you receive, every time you open your inbox, and you’ll never again have to face the clutter of an overflowing inbox.

Will it take some time and discipline to build that habit? You bet, but the result – no more stressing over emails, and no more wasted time searching for an email you’ve read before but failed to act on – is well worth the time it will take to re-train your brain about email.

Comment below if this process worked for you?

6 Tips To Being Confident And Setting Your Goals!

How many times in a day do you find yourself asking yourself “Where did the time go?” Let’s face it, we could all use a little help achieving our goals and improving our productivity. The key to doing this is to figure out what you want and make a list of your priorities.
With the fast-paced lifestyle we all lead, it’s no wonder you can’t find any time for yourself or to do the things that are important to you. You seem to spend all day doing for others, that at the end of the day, you have no energy or time left in the day to do anything for yourself.

  set goals

 

Tip #1: Ask Yourself What Do I Want To Accomplish?

Whether it is today, next month or this year. You need to set a goal. A long-term goal is essential, but also include steps you need to achieve that goal. This way, you not only have small goals to help monitor your progress and motivate yourself with your achievements, but you also have a built-in way of knowing that you’ve thought in depth about what you’re doing and are acting wisely. These small goals will also keep you on track in reaching your bigger goal.

Tip #2: Now Create Your “To Do” List To Reach Your Goals

Once you have your steps, turn them into to-do lists. It may helpful to have not only daily lists, but weekly and monthly ones as well.

Another trick that might be helpful when prioritizing your goals is create a list of activities you do daily, committees and/or organizations you are currently active and participate in. Compare that list with your “to do” list for reaching these goals and decide if there are activities that can be eliminated to make more time for you to reach your goals! You may find things that can be delegated to a Virtual Assistant or maybe even your children.

Tip #3: Stick To It

Once you’ve set your priorities and made your to do lists, you need to stick with it. Sure, if things change, you may need to do some tweaking here and there, but you put a lot of thought into your lists and you need to trust your own judgment. If you keep backtracking and re-prioritizing, you’re never going to get anything done.

For most of us, it is generally easiest to make a list and then pick and choose which things we’d like to do off the list. The problem with this is that something you like doing more may not be as urgent, and the more important items will be put off until the last minute when you absolutely have to get them done.

A better way to look at your list, is pick the one thing that you’re dreading doing. Sure, it might take you a while to get it done, but once you do, you’ll not only be less likely to procrastinate, you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment and momentum to get through the rest of your work.

Tip #4: Be Realistic About Your Time

A key part of time management is being realistic. Many people think that if they set lofty goals, they’ll get that extra push from the perceived time crunch and actually meet them. The truth is, if you set unrealistic goals, you’re rarely going to meet them. If you continue to not meet your goals, you’re going to become discouraged and actually lower productivity and work quality.

One of the most important steps in time management is taking responsibility for your actions and how you manage what you do during your days. When we fail to meet a deadline, many of us blame it on other things, like a distracting co-worker or a great show that was on TV. This leads us to believe there is nothing we can do about meeting deadlines, which just isn’t true. You need to own your own time. If you don’t meet a deadline, figure out what you did wrong and what you can do better next time to fix it.

With a little effort and a lot of conviction, you can stick with your plans and achieve your goals.

Tip #5: Learn To Say “No”

I know sometimes it’s just easier to say “yes” to all the requests, but if you want to reach your goals the most important things is you are going to learn to have to say “no”. Set boundaries when needed to help you stay on track in what you need to get done to meet your goals.

Tip #6: Keep Your Goals Visible

goals_deadline Whether you create a vision board, have a hand written list or use a cork board, keep your goals visible to you that you can read daily.

What is a vision board?  A vision board is a collage of pictures, phrases, words or items that represent you and your goals.  Vision boards are for inspiration; think of it as a vision of the future.  These goals can be long-term or short-term.  By seeing these images on a daily basis, you will keep the motivation to reach for those goals and dreams.

I have also created a vision board on Pinterest if this may help you get started.  Check it out:

Follow SpecialMoms A Business Club for Mom Entrepreneurs’s board Vision Board on Pinterest.

Do you have a vision board? Will you be creating your vision board today?

 

Rules for Kids Using Social Media Safely

This is a guest post.

Twenty years ago, moms were worried about their kids safely crossing the street and whether or not they ate too much sugar. Nowadays, moms (and dads) have to be vigilant about the role of technology in their children’s lives, particularly when it comes to social media.

If you’re a mom, know someone who is, or are even looking for a few helpful tips for your own life, here’s a shortlist of rules to enforce if you want to be sure your kids are using social media safely.

6 Ways to Keep Kids Safe on Social Media

1. Parents Must Have All Passwords

It may seem like an invasion of privacy but it’s crucial your children know you’re actively checking out all their online communication. Make sure they give you the passwords to all their social networking profiles and that you check them often! They’re only useful if you’re monitoring.

2. No Photos That Are Inappropriate

Of course, what’s “inappropriate” will vary from family to family but in general it’s a good idea to keep photos of your kids in bathing suits, in front of your home, and sleeping off the web. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t want mom to see it, don’t put it online! And of course, you should be checking your kids’ online photos often to make sure one slipped through the cracks.

3. Don’t Give Out Identifying Information

It’s important that you talk with your children before they’re allowed online about what’s best kept to themselves. Obviously things like your phone number, your home address, and your kids full legal name should never be shared over social media but it’s also smart to nix the use of birthdates, sports team numbers, and your kids’ school name as they could be used to track them down in real life.

4. Obey the Time Limits

Social media can be a great addition to a child’s social development but it’s smart to limit the number of sites they use. Facebook and Twitter are great, as are Instagram and Pinterest, but more than two social sites is simply too much. Your kids don’t need to spend more than an hour per day using social to connect with their friends…any more than that and they could be missing out on In Real Life opportunities!

5. No Chat Rooms!

Chat rooms are notoriously hard to monitor and they’re the perfect hiding spot for child predators. If your kids are going to end up talking to someone you’d rather them not, it will likely be in a chat room. Have them promise they’ll never visit them and check up on them often.

6. Do Not Talk to Strangers

The main difference in social for kids and social for adults is that kids have no need to talk to strangers online. They lack the ability to properly assess someone’s character based on subtle cues and they should have plenty of personal friends already online to keep them busy! Social for children should be a means of catching up, not a means for meeting new people.
If your child has special needs they’ll likely need special attention when it comes to the web. If you feel more comfortable allowing your child to use social media only when you’re present, you’re well within your right as a parent to set that standard. First and foremost, keeping your child safe online should be your priority.

How do you keep your children safe from social media predators?


Guest Author Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.

Ultimate Online Guide to Becoming an Autistic Support Teacher

Autism is a neurological disorder that typically affects an individual’s sensory and social development. In some people, autism can also affect cognitive and motor development. The condition typically begins to show signs in a child prior to age three. In some cases, a diagnosis is not made until adulthood although symptoms must always be present during childhood.

According to the latest statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders is 1 out of 88 children. For boys, the rate is 1 out of 54. Many classrooms in today’s public schools will have a child with an autism diagnosis. Many teachers, doctors and human services professionals will work with at least one child who has an autism diagnosis during their career. Some choose to make their careers out of helping children on the autism spectrum grow and thrive. Autism support teachers are essential members of an autistic child’s support team and with today’s increase in the rate of diagnosis, the demand for qualified autism support teachers is high.

We have compiled the best resources available for helping one decide if becoming an autism support teacher is the right career choice. These resources will help those interested in working with autistic children learn what skills and education will be needed in order to pursue a career in special education. The following resources also provide information on the process for securing one’s dream job as an autism support teacher. In addition, we have provided several ideas to help autism support teachers be successful in the classroom.

Please click here to see this list of best resources.

Guest post by: Rianna Stanley from Masters In Special Education.