How was YOUR week? Mine was packed with wall-to-wall meetings and opportunities to network with new contacts. Also, for what it’s worth, I hit 1,600 tweets this morning; not exactly a mystical milestone, but I just happened to notice it, so I thought I’d mention it.
Welcome to the Reading Roundup for Week Ending July 17th, 2015
The work week is always unpredictable in the life of a freelancer. Consulting gigs present themselves when they present themselves, so adaptation to a life of ambiguity is a must. Other forms of interruption may also present themselves. This week, it was the arrival of my pre-ordered copy of the long-awaited Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. Due to the aforementioned unpredictability of workload, I’m only just smack-dab in the middle of it – will let you know how I liked it.
Here are some of the other things I’ve been reading and sharing this week:
For the second year running, I’ve been nominated for the Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award. Both years, my nomination was the result of volunteer work for Conservation 20/20, Lee County’s land conservation and stewardship organization. Although I didn’t win, I got a good look at the nominees list. I’m satisfied that some deserving folks made it to the finals.
Brick & Mortar Breakout: Finding Your Freelance Community
The holidays are a time of year when freelancers might wax nostalgic for an office environment. Working for a brick & mortar establishment comes with a built-in professional network. As freelancers, our offices house a party of one. There aren’t any cubicle walls over which to prairie-dog companionably with colleagues.
Facebook is once again poised to change the algorithm that determines what users see the most of in their news feeds – and it may mean good news for non-profits. See New York Times article, linked at the end of this post for details.
The article linked below describes splitting your day into 90-minute windows, reckoning that an average “task” takes around 90 minutes to complete. This concept of “windows” or “units” is not new to me. Rather humorously, I first encountered it in one of my favorite must-see-it-at-Christmas-time films, About A Boy. However, the protagonist’s “units” had little to do with working for a living.
Still, the idea bears merit. Dividing the day into blocks defines when the task begins and when it ends. It can help to drive focus, and to curb the inclination to tweak to perfection (news flash: perfection is Continue reading Work windows, and why we need them→
Are you a small brick-and-mortar business that could use a little free marketing help? Check out this page by American Express (see link, below). Marketing materials and a map of other participating businesses are just the start of what you’ll find here. In addition to promoting your own small business, you can also locate and support other businesses just like yours, by shopping there on Small Business Saturday.
Personally, I can think of no better way of heading into the holiday season than by strolling, dining, and shopping the streets of downtown Fort Myers, otherwise known as our Historic River District. In addition to being the county seat, Fort Myers offers wonderful restaurants, scenic river views (have you tried sunset over the Caloosahatchee from one of the rooftop establishments?), unique, fun shops, and other activities.
It was a brilliant, blue-sky day in November, 2012. Full-time Florida residents live for this type of day – the heat of the summer is behind us, but the massive influx of snowbirds is still before us. We get to enjoy our Florida unfettered.
Gary was at the wheel. Tootie and I had each draped ourselves into the mandatory lounging position on either side of the vessel. We were headed into Estero Bay, deeply grateful for the sky, the water, the sunshine, and the freedom to enjoy it all. Thinking about the reasons why I, in particular, could enjoy said freedom, I remarked to Tootie, “You know, I don’t think I’m getting a job. I think I’m making a job.” And with those words, I did what any plugged-in netizen of this day and age would do. I snapped a pic of my bare feet against the idyllic backdrop, and posted it to Facebook.
The end of Yahoo’s contributor network reminds me of a difficult lesson I learned in my early days of mobile blogging. I had a tidy group of readers following me around, and I enjoyed conversing with them while in the act of adventuring. Sometimes that meant trading comments on a blog post in real-time. Yet, as soon as I discovered a site called Utterz (later Utterli), it meant Continue reading Control the place where your content lives→
I volunteer for wildlife surveys several times a year. These are opportunities to get away from the desk and air conditioning, and commune with nature in the company of other nature geeks, from whom I learn so many things. Wildlife surveys are also opportunities to study and photograph wildlife, and to help nature-based organizations understand how conservation land is being used, and by which species. Yesterday’s foray into the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary had us counting butterflies for NABA. I was able to get some decent shots for environmental education purposes. Check out the Flickr slideshow, below.
Here’s the fun side of what I do for a living – I develop digital content that serves up environmental education.
My aim in photography is not so much to develop works of art, but to illustrate a story. This is the story of an evening hike at one of Conservation 20/20’s preserves. The preserve is in Cape Coral, Florida. Enjoy the tour!
I’ve long been dismayed at the sorry state of LinkedIn “endorsements”. The model makes it really easy for anyone to endorse you for anything – whether they know you have that skill or not.
Mostly I’m baffled by what motivates someone I sat next to in high school choir class to endorse me for my risk management skills. We’ve never worked together, not since the decoration of the homecoming parade float back in (excruciatingly long-ago date deleted) . How does she know if I’m Continue reading The uselessness of @LinkedIn endorsements→
Working from home isn’t for everyone; actually, if you ask Marissa Mayer or Jamie Dimon, working from home isn’t for ANYONE. Despite their opinions on the subject, there are those of us who, whether freelancing for ourselves or telecommuting for someone else, can work from home and consistently outshine our office-dwelling counterparts.
Here is some really useful advice from Forbes on protecting your privacy online (see link below this post).
To this list I would add, “Lie about your date of birth.”
DISCLAIMER: USE YOUR JUDGEMENT! Obviously, there are times when you should NOT lie about your D.O.B. For instance, when you are applying for a line of credit, a job, or a driver’s license, don’t lie. When you are paying taxes, don’t lie. These are instances whereby there are valid reasons to provide your real, personally-identifying information. It actually protects you to do so, in some cases.
Back in the old days, when it was just forums instead of Facebook, avatars instead of profile pictures, and fictitious user names instead of actual identities, I never once mentioned on a public forum the name of the institution for which I slaved.
Beginning with my very first Compuserve account, and before the implementation of the mouse, I was known everywhere I went online by some form of the name of my favorite animated character. I made up names for my employer, at first calling them “MegaBank” in honor of their size and global reach. Eventually, significant growth resulting from multiple mergers and acquisitions, led to a re-anointing as “GigaFirm”, which really ended up sounding more like an anti-cellulite product than a financial institution. Regardless, until the advent of LinkedIn, I never once Continue reading Social media and your employer→
“What is it you want to do with your life? …every decision you make from here on out should be in service of that.”
– the naked man on How I Met Your Mother
I never expected that line in the middle of the whole “Naked Man” schtick. To his credit, the actor delivered it with the utmost of sincerity, despite the fact that “your balls are on my couch.” Over the course of a television series that spanned Continue reading Service: to supply with aid→
Where online content is concerned, does it get much better than a sunset? Apparently, it does!
Sunset is my favorite time to hit the beach with camera in hand, especially if it coincides with low tide. The beach is laid seemingly bare by the ebb, but countless small worlds and denizens await discovery amongst the tidal pools and puddles. And at the end of our walk, we get an eye-catching treat, which is what makes sunsets such excellent digital content.
Check the link for a unique perspective on sunset photography –
It’s startling to see these statistics in print – the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Women in Business reports that 30% of all new businesses are owned by women, and that 90% of female entrepreneurs are sole proprietors.
Thus far, there is no indication of what one should do if one has already purchased a “party of one” health care insurance policy. Last time I switched, it was because COBRA had come to an end. At that time, I discovered I’d been paying for a lot of things for which I had little to no use (gastric by-pass surgery, well baby care, and more). I ended up saving a bunch, but I am still paying more monthly than I would if I just paid cash every time I needed medical care. Time to do some research and come up with a list of options – stay tuned…
Looking for an easy way to hack into your phone? Simply ask Siri to help you.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to disallow Siri from your lockscreen. By default, and despite the phone being locked, Siri will cheerfully dispense the answers to such questions as, “What’s my address?” and “Text so-and-so”.
You can adjust the default and prevent unauthorized access to your phone by performing the following steps (if your passcode lock is currently turned off, then you won’t have access to these controls. Turn passcode lock on to change these settings):
HOW TO DISALLOW SIRI FROM THE LOCKSCREEN:
1) SETTINGS | GENERAL | PASSCODE LOCK
2) Where it says “Allow access when locked”, turn that OFF.