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Please meet Teresa from Detroit, Michigan. Teresa is in need of a kidney transplant. While she waits, however, she is addressing the misinformation surrounding organ and tissue transplantation. Thank you, Teresa.
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The iPhone recycling program launched last year in the U.S. has made its way north of the border. Canadians are now able to trade-in their old phones for credit towards the latest device. Apple is selling the program as “an affordable way to upgrade to a new iPhone.”
Now Canadian iPhone owners can bring their devices to the Apple Store, where they will be given a credit up to $275. Broken phones will also be accepted, but obviously for a much lower return than undamaged devices. Both personal and company phones are eligible.
Although Apple has not said much about the program, it has shared what happens with your phone once traded in. The “recycled” phones are handled by a company called Brightstar Corp. Brightstar determines whether the phone is to be refurbished and resold, or have its parts recycled.
We’ll see if this lures more shoppers into the Apple Store instead of purchasing a new phone directly from their carrier.
What was life really like for those born before 1985? In this tongue-in-cheek video, actor Kevin Bacon outlines the impact ’80s technology had on pre-Millennials, and how hard it was to skateboard to Blockbuster without getting nuked. He’ll even let you in on his favorite app.
It seems even the United States government isn’t immune to being overcharged by telecommunications service providers. Last week, the feds took aim at Sprint, filing a lawsuit claiming it was overcharged $21 million for wiretap service for over three years.
The government’s says that Sprint “knowingly submitted false claims” to several law enforcement agencies – including the FBI, DEA, ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – for expenses incurred while assisting with wiretaps and other surveillance of its customers.
“Because Sprint’s invoices for intercept charges did not identify the particular expenses for which it sought reimbursement, federal law enforcement agencies were unable to detect that Sprint was requesting reimbursement of these unallowable costs,” stated the Justice Department in its lawsuit, claiming Sprint has acted in contravention of the False Claims Act.
As well, regulations state carriers can claim reimbursement for the cost of monitoring, but cannot claim expenses related to the upgrading of equipment to carry out the activities. The lawsuit alleges the inclusion of these items inflated Sprint’s charges by 58 percent.
Though Sprint has vociferously denied the charges, if the courts rule on the side of the government, Sprint could be on the hook for up to $63 million in damages.
How many times have kids been told not to give their Facebook or email passwords out to anyone? Apparently not enough. A Canadian study done by MediaSmarts has found three out of five Canadian youths will give their passwords away to family and close friends.
Children who participated in the study were in Grades 4 to 11, aged nine to 17. Out of the 5,436 kids surveyed, only 41 percent said they would not share their social media passwords, with 46 percent of boys saying they’d keep the information secret. Only 35 percent of girls say they’d do the same.
It may be comforting for parents to hear they are most likely to be the person their child trusts with password information. However, the next person in line is almost always the best friend. Thirty-six percent of boys and 45 percent of girls are willing to share login information with their parents, compared to 21 percent of boys and 31 percent of girls who say they’d share with their best friends.
What’s most troublesome are the statistics with older youth, ages 12 to 17, who are willing to share their passwords with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Seventeen percent of boys and 15 percent of girls say they would give their passwords to their significant other.
“Password sharing is used as a marker of trust … It’s something you do as a token of how close you are,” Matthew Johnson, director of education at MediaSmarts, was quoted as saying.
Parents should always have access to their children’s passwords, as the ability to monitor online accounts and conversation is important. However, they shouldn’t give out that information to anyone else, including friends or a person they are dating. It’s important to educate children to ensure their safety online.
The Walking Dead. World War Z. Zombieland. There is no denying zombies have invaded pop culture. You may be surprised to learn their reach extends beyond a post-apocalyptic wasteland on your television screen – there are lessons to be learned from these horror movie creatures in the boardroom as well.
Steven Spear, a lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, warns our response to issues that arise can literally make or break our business. In fact, it has a lot in common with how heroes battle hordes of the undead.
“The zombie-like organizations are constantly plagued with working around the same problem every day, continuously, so there’s nothing but aggravation in those work spaces,” says Spear. “There’s something else which happens, which is that occasionally just enough of the right number and combination of problems coalesce to cause catastrophic failure.”
On the flip side, companies who take a heroic approach – containing the issue and learning what caused the failure so it doesn’t happen again – have more dynamic workplaces and deliver more value to their customers.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Back to the drawing board.” But how long should we really be staying there? According to career counsellors Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz, the answer is simple: not long at all.
In their new book, Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win, Babineaux and Krumboltz advise we ditch our old-school approach to launching a new initiative – one that required meticulous and time-consuming research and planning – and instead throw caution to the wind.
Though this can lead to great losses in the early stages, the authors suggest it leads to greater rewards in the long run.
“Starting today, set aside five minutes a day to do what you love. Find something you have been meaning to do and give yourself permission to do it badly right away,” they write. “Successful people have a knack for performing poorly. Find a way today to step outside of your usual haunts, habits and thinking patterns to experience new possibilities.”
Let’s look at five things Babineaux and Krumboltz recommend we do to fail fast and often on the way to achieving our goals.
1. Have Fun
There’s no way to sugar coat it – failure is not fun. However, by focusing on getting the most out of life, we can ensure our joyful moments aren’t overshadowed by our disappointments. Scientists have recommended a 3-to-1 ratio of good to bad, which means to maintain a sunny disposition we need three positive experiences to every negative one. As an added bonus, sometimes the best business ideas are borne from undertaking activities you enjoy.
2. Fail Forward
Successful people err on the side of getting things done, while achievers dive in head first. Sure, they don’t always succeed in their endeavors, but they always learn from their mistakes. The fastest way to find out if something is going to work is to try it. If things don’t turn out as planned, use those initial actions as a way to determine what you still need to learn.
3. Think Big, Act Small
Ambition is important, but success more often comes from a series of small steps rather than large, carefully orchestrated strategies, says Babineaux and Krumboltz. Going too big can leave you overwhelmed and distract you from your target. It can also suck up all of your resources. Build momentum by breaking complex strategies into smaller tasks, which allows you to see what works in incremental steps. That way if something goes awry, it’s not a catastrophic error, just a trivial one.
4. Overcome Analysis Paralysis
Have you ever caught yourself over-thinking a project? If your answer is yes, you probably know it can lead to frustration, confusion and hesitation. To keep yourself from getting bogged down shrink your decision. For example, you could plot out the next year of your career instead of worrying about the 20-year outlook. Accept new opportunities with open arms and determine if a smaller activity can force you to take the big leap you’ve been avoiding. Over-thinking without action will deplete you of your confidence and energy.
5. Stop Resisting
A great way to feel energized and alive is tackling a task that’s new, exciting and challenging. But we often have to fight our innate urge to resist change to get there. There are some easy steps you can take to ease your fear of the unknown. First, take note of your mood to ensure you’re in the right frame of mind. Then deliberately build grit, which is a combination of perseverance and passion, to pull you through the tough times. Finally, develop a “do-it-today” habit, where you set time aside to complete your most important – or dreaded – projects.
So what are you waiting for? There’s no time like now to dive in head first and set yourself up to fail. Though it seems like a scary prospect, you could end up reaping some great rewards.
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
You’re getting ready to dive into the task at hand when the notification light on your smartphone catches your eye. Drawn in by the flashing beacon, you can’t resist the urge to check your text messages.
You settle back in and open up your spreadsheet. Suddenly a co-worker stationed at a desk a few feet away leans back in his chair and casually asks, “So, did you catch the game last night?”
With all these distractions, it’s a wonder we get anything done.
Our lack of concentration is a real issue. A University of California study found office workers are interrupted once every three minutes, on average. Once led off course, it takes 23 minutes to refocus on the task. Nearly half of all employees lose concentration after just 15 minutes.
What’s to blame for our wandering minds? Some people point to the excessive stimulus we’re surrounded by in our daily lives as the culprit. We watch television while surfing on our tablets and check our phones compulsively. Online offerings, from Facebook to cat videos, create the perfect storm of distraction.
Others blame workplace trends, such as the open-concept office. Long touted as the best way to foster collaboration, boost creativity and increase communication, the design can prove disastrous if protocol isn’t defined.
The good news is that no matter the cause, we can sharpen our focus and maximize our productivity. Here are a few ways to train your brain:
Proper time management is essential in reducing distractions and the ability to identify which task needs to be tackled first can simplify your work day.
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important,” said President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who developed a highly efficient method of prioritizing tasks. First, determine whether the task is important, then consider if it is urgent.
All tasks can be sorted into four categories: Urgent and Important, Not Urgent and Important, Urgent and Not Important, and Not Urgent and Not Important. Sort your projects into the appropriate categories and work through your To-Do List accordingly.
2. Eradicate E-Clutter
Computers have changed our world for the better, but they can also be our downfall. If you can, consider working offline. It is estimated that 60 percent of work disruptions can be blamed on social media, smartphones and email. In fact, email, one of the great advents of the 20th century, is also the biggest time suck. Reading and processing 100 emails can take up half a work day. Ignore all but the most urgent emails, and assign a set time to check less important messages. Resist the urge to read emails as they come through.
Also consider picking up the phone instead of sending internal emails. Urgent or complex issues are better discussed by phone or in person, while items of lesser importance can be emailed. By making this distinction your employees never have to wonder if the email from Steve in Finance is about a pressing issue, or whether he’s letting everyone know he brought in a birthday cake to share in the break room.
If you can’t log off completely, there are apps that will block tempting websites or black out computer screen backgrounds to only allow you to view one program at a time.
3. Set Your Limits
Determine what you can use as a ‘do not disturb’ sign to let co-workers know you’re focused on a task and can’t be disrupted. In many open-concept offices, headphones are the universal sign for “I’m busy.” Often workers aren’t even listening to music but wear them to let others know they’re in the middle of something important. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting people know you’re not available when they stop by your desk to chat. It may take some time, but eventually they’ll get the message you’re not fond of drop-in guests.
If the buzz around you can’t be blocked out, consider temporarily relocating. Book a board room for an afternoon, or find a quiet corner at the local coffee house and settle in. If people can’t find you, they can’t disrupt you.
4. Take Care of Your Health
We all know that getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising keeps us on top of our game and naturally improves our focus. However, pay attention to how your schedule affects your well-being. Be mindful of how many hours you put in – overworking yourself can actually hurt productivity instead of helping it. Stress plays a huge role, with about 50 percent of employees losing productivity because of it.
If your diet isn’t rich in fish and eggs, or you aren’t consuming many products fortified with Omega-3 fatty acids, consider taking a supplement. Not only will it help lower cholesterol and curb inflammation, some experts believe it can improve your mood and concentration.
5. Reward Yourself
Balance is important, so don’t be afraid to reward yourself. Grab a cookie from the vending machine or take a coffee break with your favorite latte to congratulate yourself for completing the project. Head outside and soak up some Vitamin D with a quick walk around the block.
With everyone trying to cram more activities into an already packed schedule, there’s a good chance society will speed up before it slows down. By learning to prioritize our work and adopting a few new habits, we can all improve our focus and productivity.
Time is a hot commodity, and we just can’t get enough. Thomas Edison once said, “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”
There is no denying we are more pressed for time than ever. So how can we ensure we maximize the time we have available? In this Stanford Graduate School of Business video, Professor Jennifer Aaker suggests taking a unique approach to tackling your schedule: rethinking time.
Aaker says the use of multipliers – a single activity that fulfills multiple goals – can help us make the most of our limited time and resources by achieving numerous objectives at once. For example, if squeezing in two extra business meetings per week and improving your fitness are on your to-do list, consider holding a walking meeting outdoors.
“Social psychologists have found that we have multiple parts of ourselves, and in fact when we have multiple parts of ourselves they are often associated with different goals,” says Aaker. “... The problem is, sometimes these goals start to compete with each other.”
Schooley Mitchell is the largest independent telecom consulting company in North America, with offices from coast to coast. Our Telecom Consultants deliver telecommunications expertise to companies large and small from all industries. We offer a broad range of services that include analysis of existing and future telecommunications needs, assessment of best alternatives and implementation of cost-effective telecommunications solutions.