7 Food Habits That Work for Weight Loss

Are you tired of dieting? If you are then try a few of these tips to get started on better eating habits for long term success with weight loss. You will find simple lifestyle changes such as quick and easy breakfast ideas, smart snacks, and food label tips. They may not sound magical – but they do work!

1. Breakfast Basics

Getting into the habit of eating breakfast gets you and your metabolism on a regular schedule and our bodies do better with a routine. For quick and easy breakfasts try a piece of fruit, granola bar, yogurt, hardboiled egg on toast, English muffin with peanut butter, a smoothie, cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, or even just a glass of milk or juice.

2. Lunch List

Planning ahead is the key to having a healthy lunch. You can take a turkey sandwich and chips or fruit from home for 500 calories or go to a restaurant and order a sandwich and fries for 600 calories or more just in the sandwich. Make a list of foods you would like for lunches. Wraps, popcorn, cheese & crackers, or premixed salads can make a quick, healthy lunch.

3. Supper Slim-Down

This is often the meal where we often overeat because we have not eaten enough during the day and we are starving by supper time. There are many tricks you can use here but finding a way to eat smaller portions and lower calorie foods is the goal for weight loss. Try these suggestions. . .

* Use a smaller plate

* Keep the serving dishes off the table

* Make it a rule not to eat while watching TV

* Eat slower and pay attention to the flavor of food

4. Snack Smarts

When we start eating less at meals it is normal to get hungry between meals. Snacks can help your body control weight and help prevent overeating at meals. 100-200 calories for a snack is generally a healthy range. Yogurts, fruit, raw veggies, whole grain crackers, pudding, an ounce of nuts, or 5-6 cups popcorn light buttered are all sour ideas that are also good sources of nutrients. If you are craving some "junk food" then for 100-200 calories you could have a snack size candy bar, 4-5 hard candies, 3 caramels, 5-6 Hershey's kisses, 4 licorice twists, a 20oz cappuccino made with low fat Milk, 1 envelope hot cocoa mix with water or low fat milk, or 15-20 chips.

5. Beverage Balance

Be sure you are not drinking too many calories. To lose weight and still get necessary nutrients you will not have room for many caloric beverages other than low fat milk. Drinks other than small amounts of juice should be a treat. Think of soda pop as liquid candy. The acid and sugar eat away at your teeth and the calories can sabotage your weight loss efforts without giving you any nutrition. Next time you reach for the 20oz soda at the store remember you are getting over 15 teaspoons of sugar.

6. Restaurant Rules

Set some new rules for yourself when eating out. I try to limit how often I eat out to once a week or less. Restaurant meals are usually 2-3 times the recommended calorie amount and are generally high in fat and sodium. When you do order out try these ideas to keep your calorie close close to your goal:

* Share a meal with someone

* Ask for a to-go container right away & portion before you eat

* Avoid fried foods & skip the appetizer

* Ask for sauces, butter and dressings on side

* Order thin crust pizza instead of thick crust

* Remember alcohol is high calorie also

7. Diet Deletion

Stop looking for the magic pill or quick-fix diet because it does not exist. What have been proven to work time after time are changing eating and activity habits and practicing those changes until they become our new lifestyle. Diets are temporary, restrictive and mess up our body's metabolism so that each time we try to lose weight it gets more difficult.

Source by Karen Marschel

Urdu – The Language Of Pakistan

Urdu is part of the Indo-Aryan group, which is a subgroup of Indo-Iranian Languages. The language itself is a hybrid of Turkish, Persian, Pashto, Arabic, Sanskrit and Hindi. The biggest influences are from the Turkish and Persian languages, followed by Arabic and Sanskrit. Urdu is very similar to Hindustani (commonly referred to as Hindi). Hindi has a greater Sanskrit influence as opposed to Urdu, but Urdu and Hindi speakers can communicate easily with little effort.

Urdu is pronounced "Or doo" which means Army or Hordes; This language was created in the Indo-Pak sub-continent around 1000 years ago, when soldiers speaking different languages ​​like Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi and other local languages ​​combined together in arms of the rulers of India during those time. This is the times when the Aryan invaders from central Asia came and conquered large territories of India. These were the Moghul rulers who came with Turkish cavalry passing through Afghanistan and into India; Recruiting soldiers from the areas they passed through. Since then, there were so many languages ​​spoken within this army that a new language evolved. With its roots in the army barracks, it came to be known as Urdu. The first Mughal ruler was Zaheeruddin Baber and when he attacked India he had ten thousand Turkish Cavalry sent to him from the Ottomans. Baber's army was predominately Persian speaking, with a large group of Pashto speakers who combined with Turkish speaking cavalry before they attacked India. Over the years Urdu evolved in the barracks of these soldiers and eventually found its own being stolen in most parts of the Moghul Empire, especially by the Muslims and often in the Moghul courts, where Persian was spoken.

Urdu is very close to Hindi and the grammar is almost exactly the same. Urdu uses the Persian script with a few additions to cater for the phonetics of local languages. The script is also referred to as Nastaliq style, which is really the Perso-Arabic script. It is written from right to left unlike the Roman script which is written from left to right.

Urdu is spoken by over a 100 million people as a first or second language. Urdu is the National language of Pakistan and one of the 23 official languages ​​of India. The official language of Pakistan is English, but Urdu is also used officially by the Law enforcement agencies and local governments. It is also spoken broadly in parts of Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Urdu speakers are also found in Europe, USA and the Middle East. It spread in these regions as people increased to these parts looking for work.

Urdu has four main dialects Pinjari (Pin Ja ree), Rekhta (Ray kha ta), Deccani (Duck nee) and Khairboli (Khai Boalee). Pinjari, Deccani and Rekhta have almost disappeared, but most probably merged with the modern day accent which is Khairboli. Rekhta had the highest Persian influence, followed by Khairboli and Deccani. Rekhta is the language of Urdu poetry and is there considered a dialect. Khairboli is the Modern Vernacular Urdu and is spoken in Karachi, Delhi and Lucknow. Pinjari and Deccani which were spoken in Hyderabad and Anderpardesh regions of India have almost disappeared.

The modern day dialect is the Modern Vernacular Urdu. People who speak this language are also referred to as Ahal-e-zuban, (People of the tongue or language). People who have Urdu as their first language are referred to as Urdu speaking in most parts of Pakistan. The people who actually speak Urdu as their second language have a very different accent, especially people from the Punjab and Pashto speaking regions. The accent in the Punjab regions is influenced by the Punjabi language and many Punjabi words form the common vocabulary of Urdu in these regions. Pashto speaking people have a very neutral accent and are very clear; However most Pashto speakers who speak Urdu very commonly confuse gender in the language. There is also a considerable English influence on Urdu in Pakistan and in India. Words like import, export, genuine (pronounced gen yun when used in Urdu), kitchen, glass, chicken, table, latrine and many more words are used as part of modern day Urdu.

Urdu was given its name in 1751, when a very famous writer Saraj-uddin Aarzoo referred to this language as Urdu. The first Urdu book is called "Woh Majlis" (means that gathering of literary activity) in 1728 and the first Urdu Poet was Ameer Khusro (1253-1325 AD)

Source by Neil Payne

HR Field Guide – 5 Tips to Effective Learning Management

Tip #1: Link Employee Development To Learning Delivery

Development plans help employees improve in their current role, better prepare them for a future role of interest (which is important in the context of succession planning), or both. While employee skill, competency, and behavior gaps are typically identified during the performance assessment process (or a 360 feedback process), learning delivery is the mechanism to close the gaps.

Learning for learning’s sake is an ineffective strategy. But learning to close skill, competency, and behavior gaps and therefore improve an employee’s contribution in a current role or help the employee better prepare for a future role, is something altogether different. Therefore, development and learning processes must be seamlessly linked from both a process and underlying technology perspective. Yet only 29% of organizations have actually made this connection, with another 23% planning to within one year, according to a global survey of 300 HR leaders. [Note: this survey data will be referenced throughout the report]

The impact of linking these functions is significant. In the same survey, organizations that have linked employee development and learning delivery report:

  • Improved workforce alignment to overall strategy
  • More quickly respond to changing business needs
  • Higher revenue per employee
  • Better internal talent mobility
  • Improved workforce productivity

A few key questions to consider when linking employee development to learning delivery are:

1. Are recommended courses and programs automatically presented to users within their development plans to facilitate training and coursework?

2. Is the transition between employee development planning and learning management seamless to users (e.g., same user interface, look and feel, does not give the user the impression of a disconnected process)?

3. Is systems integration effort and cost required to tie development and learning delivery together, or do all the requisite capabilities reside on a common technology platform that natively connects the functions out of the box?

Tip #2: Align Learning Activities To Business Objectives

Part of the promise of integrated talent management is improving alignment between workforce activities and overall business strategies and objectives. This alignment is typically achieved through performance management and goals. Managers and their directs establish goals as part of the performance management process and align the goals up through the organization. Alternatively, the organization cascades goals down to the workforce. In either scenario, it is often the case that employees need specific training to achieve their goals.

If employees are not provided the proper learning resources to complete goals, the impacts can be severe:

  • Poorly trained employees who cannot achieve their goals
  • The organization is unable to complete its strategic goals and objectives
  • Turnover at all levels due to frustration and inability to complete goals

Today, only 34% of organizations have linked learning and performance management to enable training as a key component of employee goal completion. An additional 31% of organizations plan to do so by 2011.

Part of the challenge in linking these functions has been technical in nature. Many organizations continue to use multiple systems (e.g., performance system, learning management system) that are not integrated. Yet as many organizations continue to gravitate toward single platform solutions that natively connect functions such as learning, performance, and goals, the technical integration challenges can be eliminated. These single platform solutions also make it much easier to report on key metrics such as the effectiveness of learning programs on performance since all of the data resides in a centralised repository. With this data in hand, HR leaders are better equipped tomonitor and continuously improve their learning processes and programs.

A few key questions to consider when aligning learning activities to business objectives are:

1. Does your current learning system enable you to dynamically link business objectives and goals with specific learning activities?

2. Does the system natively integrate learning, performance, and goals vis-à-vis a broader talent platform? If so, does it also provide a robust reporting and analytic capability that enables you to monitor and continuously improve your processes and programs?

3. Does your learning system provide capabilities to dynamically push content to users based on their goals? Can assignment rules be easily created to support this dynamic push?

Tip #3: Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Learning management systems (LMS) are an important mechanism for managing compliance and certification training within an organization. Without a central tracking repository, and no way to report globally, organizations can quickly fall out of regulatory compliance. The potential negative impacts to this are fines and work stoppages, not to mention the high overhead and costs associated with managing compliance activities and reporting in a manual fashion.

Competencies also play a key role, especially from a quality standards (e.g., ISO 9000) perspective. A rigorous competency-based training program is a key mechanism for ensuring ongoing compliance to quality standards. As such, competency management plays a critical role in learning management strategies. The system employed, whether an LMS or a broader talent management platform, must instantiate a flexible competency library as a central component that is seamlessly exposed to all other functions within the system or platform.

A few key questions to consider to maintain regulatory compliance are:

1. Can compliance-related courses be automatically assigned to new hires as a part of the on-boarding process? Can triggers and alerts be established to automatically inform employees when they need refresher training?

2. Does your current learning system provide a library of pre-defined competencies? Does it provide tools for managing competencies, including competency categories, supporting definitions, behaviors, on-the-job activities, and development opportunities? Can you easily import your existing competencies into the system?

3. Does your learning system include robust reporting and analytic capabilities to facilitate compliance reporting? Does it come with out-of-box standard reports? And is the complexity of the reporting and analytic engine abstracted so that non-technical users can run their own reports without IT intervention?

Tip #4:Track Learning Effectiveness Throughout the Organization

Within many organizations, there is no systematic way to track the impact of learning programs on organizational outcomes. These outcomes may include workforce productivity or even individual performance. In fact, only 21% of

organizations are currently measuring the impact of training on performance, with

another 34% planning on doing so by 2011. Overall learning program effectiveness fares somewhat better, with 35% of organizations currently measuring overall learning effectiveness.

  • The impacts of not tracking learning effectiveness can be significant:
  • Money spent improperly on ineffective curricula and courses
  • Employees spending time in courses that are not effective
  • Inability to distinguish between which courses are working and which are not

Part of the challenge lies in the fact that data is spread out in various silos across the organization and there is no common employee system of record. A single, fully-connected talent platform that covers the gamut of HR functions and processes, including learning, can alleviate some of the problems since the data is all in one place. And with a robust analytic and reporting function, previously unavailable insight can be gained.

By shifting to a more measurement-oriented approach to learning, organizations can realize numerous benefits:

  • Spend the right time and resources on effective courses
  • Eliminate or change ineffective courses
  • Allocate training budgets more accurately
  • Increase employee engagement (employees are not wasting time in ineffective courses)

A few key questions to consider to track learning effectiveness throughout the organization are:

1. Does your current learning system leverage a robust and industry standard analytics engine which provides interactive graphical displays of all data?

2. Does the system abstract the complexity out of the analytics engine so that non-technical users can conduct their own analyzes via an intuitive, web-based interface?

3. Are you able to conduct reporting and analysis across modules? For example, can you easily glean insight into more strategic metrics such as the impact of training on performance?

4. Does the analytics system reduce administrative overhead by leveraging the same comprehensive security access rights and rules as the learning system so that security policies only have to be established once?

Tip #5: Create Seamless On-Boarding Plans for Employees

An effective new hire orientation and on-boarding program is essential to ensuring the long-term success of new employees. Yet employees – and their managers in many cases – often find it difficult to know which training courses to take, especially if development planning is not a part of the on-boarding process. As a result, a lot of time and frustration can occur early in a new employee’s career within the organization, which can lead to an early engagement deficit or even increased turnover.

Today, only 32% of organizations have linked learning with hiring and on-boarding to facilitate automatic scheduling of courses for new hires. Fully 46% of organizations have no plans to link the processes at all. To fully understand the impact of integrated learning and hiring/on-boarding, a global survey of HR leaders reveals that organizations that have explicitly made the linkage report:

  • Improved workforce alignment to overall strategy
  • Better internal talent mobility
  • Decreased voluntary turnover
  • Faster on-boarding (time-to-productivity)
  • Improved workforce productivity

This data reinforces the importance of integrating disparate talent functions, and the role that single platform HR solutions can play in facilitating the integration. Single platform solutions also make it much easier to report on and analyze key cross-functional metrics such as on-boarding effectiveness.

A few key questions to consider to create seamless on-boarding plans for employees are:

1. Can courses and curricula be automatically assigned to new hires as a part of the on-boarding process? This is especially important for compliance.

2. Do new hires have transparent visibility into their on-boarding plans, including learning and training activities, so that expectations are aligned from the start?

3. Does your current learning system have the capability to measure the impact of learning programs on hiring and on-boarding effectiveness (e.g., time-to-productivity, voluntary turnover, new hire engagement)?


To get the most out of your learning management investments, linking and aligning seemingly disparate HR and talent functions is essential. Learning, development, performance and goals, and hiring and on-boarding. All must come together seamlessly to fully realize the benefits of a learning-driven culture. Single platform solutions that natively connect all of these functions facilitate the linkages, and also provide the mechanism to measure, analyze, and relate deep analytic views across functions.

To summarize the top five tips to effective learning management:

1. Link Employee Development to Learning Delivery

2. Align Learning Activities to Business Objectives

3. Maintain Regulatory Compliance

4. Track Learning Effectiveness Throughout the Organization

5. Create Seamless On-Boarding Plans for Employees

Source by Steve Bonadio

Top 10 High Achievers in Business

They are men and women from various cultures and from different backgrounds, some have an impressive academic record while others barely made it through high school; However, the one thing that is common is the sheer grit and determination of these people to achieve their dreams. Here is a look at the achievements of ten such extraordinary people.

Bill Gates

The co founder of software giant Microsoft left Harvard to pursue his dream of creating a software program that would be used by nearly every computer owner in the world. Windows is the most popular operating system in the world today along with several other applications and tools that are Microsoft products. Gates has held to the title of the richest man in the world for over a decade with his net worth dwindling from $ 60 to $ 50 billion and back.

Oprah Winfrey

Another story of how determination can take a person to the pinnacle of success, Oprah's story is one of courage in the face of adversity. Her program the Oprah Winfrey Show has been the longest running and the most successful show of its kind. Winfrey, who had to face abject poverty growing up in rural Mississippi, is one of the richest entertainers in the United States today with her fortunes running into the tune of $ 2.7 billion.

Warren Buffet

The CEO of Berkshire and Hathaway, well known as the 'Oracle of Omaha', Buffet is often changing first position on the Forbes list with friend and fellow philanthropist Bill Gates. While he showed a marked reluctance for investing in tech companies, which did save him from the dot com bust, he had had a remarkably successful run with his strategy of holding the stocks of fundamentally strong companies. His hold on the stock market can be gauged by the fact that the smallest divestment in a company by Warren causes a veritable panic on Wall Street and a selling frenzy.

Zhang Yin

A true rags to riches story, Zhang Yin went from collecting waste paper in the streets of the United States to being the richest woman on the Forbes list. Her empire was built on her system of recycling paper and shipping it from the US to China. Today her company is the producer and exporter of several tons of paper and she is often dubbed as the Empress of Paper.

Carlos Slim Helu

The communications magnate from Mexico is currently at the number one position on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world with a fortune of $ 60 billion. His is a story of cashing in on the development of emerging economies. Through his conglomerate Grupo Carso, Slim Helu owns a sizable number of shares in several Mexican companies in the retail, manufacturing and telecom sectors. He controls 90% of the telephone lines in Mexico through his two companies.

Dhirubhai Ambani

Hailed as the 'Polyester Prince' of India, Dhirubhai Ambani was the founder of Reliance. In his lifetime, he went from being a blue collar worker with Shell Corporation to establishing one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world. A man who had barely managed to finish tenth grade yet shook the business culture in India as he scaled the peak of success with his company that changed the way the normal man on the streets viewed corporate stocks. Had he been alive today, he would be worth over $ 50 billion.

Indra Nooyi

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management and Yale, Nooyi took on the reigns as the CEO of Pepsico in 2006 from Steven Reinemund. She was earlier the CFO of the F & B giant. Nooyi has been responsible for the restructuring of the company; Its diversification in the restaurant brand 'Yum foods' and the acquisition of Quaker Oats and Tropicana. Since she became the CFO of Pepsico and initially the CEO, the company's profits have doubled while the annual revenues have increased by a whopping 72%. Nooyi constantly figures on the Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world.

Lakshmi Nivas Mittal (LN Mittal)

The steel magnate garnered world attention at the hostile acquisition of Arcelor by Mittal steel to form a conglomerate, Arcelor Mittal, the largest producer of steel in the world. With his personal wealth valued at $ 28.7 billion, LN Mittal is no stranger to the Forbes richest list. Although he started out in the family steel making business, he soon chose to establish his own steel making venture and its international division. Starting with a rundown steel plant in Indonesia, Mittal went on to create the largest steel making establishment in the world.

Steve Jobs

The prolific co-founder and CEO of Apple, Jobs is the man who added momentum to the personal computer revolution. He was the first to envision the impact that a mouse based GUI would have on the computer market and this led to the introduction of Macintosh. While he did leave Apple after a tiff with the board of directors and found the computer platform development company NeXt, he came back to Apple as the CEO after the acquisition of NeXT by Apple. After pancreatic cancer related health concerns, Jobs handed over the day-to-day workings of Apple to acting CEO Tim Cook and is now only involved in strategic decisions.

Mark Zuckerberg

He is the youngest billionaire in the world who revolutionized the social networking scene while in his freshman year at Harvard. The social networking phenomenon created by Zuckerberg, "Facebook" amassed a massive fan following with an astounding 500 million members. At 26, Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world with his net worth estimated to be well over $ 5 billion.

The success stories of many of these business magnates are studied in Ivy League schools; The most notable thing to be learnt from their examples is the fact that a person can achieve anything that he / she wants, as long as the individual has the courage to dream big and willingness to strive hard to achieve the dream.

Source by Wadzanai Nenzou

6 Types of Questions in English You Need To Know

In English there are 6 different kinds of questions. An utterance is a question if it has one or more of these four markers: rising intonation; inverted word order; a question word: who, what, where, when, how, how, why: or the word or. The different types of questions are differentiated based on the presence of the marker(s).

1. Statement with a rising intonation

The first kind of question has the word order of a statement but is spoken with a rising tune instead of a falling one.

You are serious? It was right? They were surprised? You can fly? You have done the work? This is a joke? You are leaving now? The Rangers won? You are from Bali? You live in Australia? You joined EzineArticles.com? You passed the test? She’s your boss?

The marker is intonation. These are “yes-no’ questions- the speaker is asking for confirmation or denial of what he understands. Such questions are most likely when the questioner has heard something and wants repetition.

2. With 24 Auxiliaries

The more common sort of question is made with inversion-placing an operator in first place. An operator (a form of be: is am, are, was/were, do/does,did, have/has/had, used to/ or one of the modal verbs can/could, will/would, shall/should, may/might, must, ought to, dare or need), which follows the subject in a statement, precedes the statement in a question. If the statement has no such operator, the empty form do occurs in the corresponding question. There are 24 operators or auxiliaries altogether in English.

Is this a good site to follow? Am I late? Are you leaving now? Were you in the office last night? Do you live in Indonesia? Does EzineArticles.com help you a lot in writing? Did it rain here yesterday? Have you got work today? Has your article been approved? Had you learnt before you left for USA? Used he to work in England before? Can you drive? Could you tell me why your account bees suspended? Shall I call you tonight? Should I go and see the manager now? May I help you? Might he come over? Must I heave up anchor? Ought she to do right? Need I contact the company? Dare he come to meet the boss?

These are also yes-no questions. The marker is the inverted word order; consequently, intonation is less important and either a rising or a falling tune may be used.

3. Tag Question

A similar but different way of asking the same thing is to make a statement and attach a tag question. The tag question has an operator which matches the verb of the statement and a pronoun which matches the subject.

You’re leaving now, aren’t you? You aren’t coming tonight, are you? This is a joke, isn’t it? This isn’t a joke, is it? You aren’t serious, are you? He’s gone back to USA, hasn’t he?

There are two different intonation possible: rising tune is used when the speaker is really seeking information, and a falling tune suggests that the speaker merely wants confirmation of what he or she believes. With the rising tune one might use just right? or something as a tag. As the examples above show, the tag is a typically negative after an affirmative statement and affirmative after a negative statement, However, there is a less common type of sentence in which an affirmative tag follows an affirmative statement:

You are serious, are you? This is a joke, is it? The Bulls won, did they? You can do that, can you?

These are typically spoken with a falling tune on the tag, and they convey a special meaning of disbelief or detachment.

Inverted Word Order

The next type of question has inverted word order but it cannot be answered simply “Yes” or “No.” The marker is the word or.

Would you like coffee or tea? Is your article about Finance or Business? Are you coming with us or staying in the office?

The usual intonation is a rise on the first part (here, coffee, Finance, coming with us) and a fall on the second part (here, tea, Business, staying in the office). The questioner gives the addressee two or more alternatives and asks for a choice.

WH’s Questions marked with rising intonation

The next questions have a question word (or “WH-word”) but are also marked by rising intonation.

He’s leaving when? When is he leaving? She left it, where? Where did she leave it? You want what? What do you want? You were absent why? Why were you absent?

The question word may appear at the beginning of the question or in the same position in the sentence as the answer would appear. The question word is the place where the voice rises. These ask for a repetition or confirmation of something said previously when the questioner can pinpoint what needs repetition or confirmation. “He’s leaving when? Indicates that the speaker has been told the time of departure but didn’t get it or doesn’t believe it.

Questions with no rising intonation

Questions that have a question word and do not have a rising intonation (at least not on the question word) ask for new information, not for repetition or confirmation.

Who told you that? Who found the money? How many people came to the party? Why are you leaving?

In English there are 6 different kinds of questions. An utterance is a question if it has one or more of the following four markers: rising intonation; inverted word order; a question word: who, what, where, when, how, how, why: or the word or. The different types of questions are differentiated on the basis of the marker(s) present.

Source by Saut Halomoan

Virtual Assistants Can Provide Valuable Legal Support Services to Law Firms

Every business should be interested in lowering costs and increasing productivity and revenue. Right? Right. A virtual assistant is your answer.

Over the last two years law firms cut costs by laying off support staff. The firms did so to reduce costs as a result of an economic downturn or slow and declining business that resulted in decreased revenue.

Earlier this month an article in The American Lawyer reported that the law firm Mayer Brown cut 135 employees – lawyers and staff, and, some time later, an article in the New York Law Journal reported that the firm laid off 75 employees, including 28 lawyers. (source of articles: Law.com) Mayer Brown has seen a reduction in staff due to cuts and layoffs of 210 employees this month. Lawshucks.com tracks law firm layoffs and indicates on its website that as of April 8, 2010, 14,696 jobs were eliminated at major law firms (5,772 lawyers / 8,924 staff) since January 2008. This data shows a higher percentage of staff layoffs (~61%) compared to that of attorney layoffs – 39%. Lawshucks.com further indicates that there have been 485 layoffs this year (186 attorneys/299 staff); this number also represents a higher percentage of staff layoffs (62%) compared to attorney layoffs of 38%. A decline in revenue and a slow recovery have prompted law firms to eliminate attorney and staff/support services positions.

Law firms can get the support services they need by engaging the services of a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant (also referred to as a VA) is a highly skilled entrepreneur that typically works from his/her home-based business providing business and/or legal support services through the effective use of technology.

The advent of the Internet and the endless progression and availability of technology enable VAs to collaborate remotely with clients from virtually anywhere in the world. VAs have been providing support services to businesses for many years. The phrase virtual assistant came into being in the ’90s, and the VA industry has seen increased growth. Support and networking organizations such as The International Virtual Assistants Association provide assistance and support to VAs worldwide. VAs provide valuable services worldwide to businesses of all types.

Services Offered by a VA

Traditionally, VAs provided secretarial and administrative services; however, today VAs provide a wealth of services that include, but are not limited to, the following types of services:

  • legal secretarial;
  • word processing/document management;
  • paralegal support;
  • tape transcription;
  • research and writing;
  • travel / conference arrangements;
  • marketing communications support;
  • desktop publishing;
  • website design;
  • content management – website, blog, wiki;
  • database management;
  • computer/technical support;
  • event management; and
  • human resource management.

In this economic downtown, a VA can be a vital part of any business. With law firms cutting costs and eliminating support services personnel, it makes good sense for a law firm (or an attorney) to hire a qualified VA for its support needs or as an extension of its business. Any legal entity or legal professional considering using the services of a VA will likely want to consider one with a legal background.

The services that a VA can perform and provide are endless. Lawyers looking to start their own practices will find the services of a VA indispensable.

Advantages of Utilizing a VA

Wondering what you gain by utilizing a VA? The benefits are plenty. Imagine eliminating:

  • costs associated with hiring a permanent employee (recruiting expenses, salary, taxes, benefits/vacations, pensions, insurance, space rental, and equipment (computer, software, furniture, telephone, etc.));
  • downtime associated with an employee not showing up for work – lost productivity;
  • costs associated with employee turnover;
  • costs associated with training; and
  • any number of other associated costs with hiring and maintaining a permanent employee.

With a VA you pay only for the services performed – a very cost-effective solution. Whether you need 2 hours, 4 hours or a full day, you’re not saddled with paying unnecessary expenses. Most professional VAs will have years of experience in their particular field or area of expertise.

You can’t do it all so what better time than now to hire a VA to assist you with meeting your business goals. As a business owner you have specialized skills that enable you to generate income for your business, but if you spend time handling tasks that a VA could perform you lose income and decrease productivity. That doesn’t have to be the case. Collaborate with a VA to get the business support services you need, keep costs down, increase productivity and ultimately increase revenue.

When Considering Hiring a VA

When looking to hire a VA check out the VA’s website to get a sense of the type of person she/he is. The website should list at a minimum:

  • the services offered;
  • professional and educational background of the VA;
  • a method of contact; and
  • rates charged – highly skilled VAs may charge anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour depending on the service (rates vary and in some instances can be higher).

You should also e-mail or call the VA to see how responsive the VA is. You might also be able to contact the VA via a form on their website. The website should provide you with enough information to determine if the VA is someone you would like to do business with. Once you have reviewed the website and like what you have seen, make contact with the VA. The conversation(s) you experience with the VA will further determine if a business relationship is viable.

A VA may require:

  • a minimum number of hour(s) to get started working with you,
  • that you sign a contract for services, and
  • a down payment before beginning any work.

Don’t let this deter you since the VA is in business also. Just as you’re checking out the VA, he/she is also checking you out. For a VA, having these mechanisms in place usually weed out unsavory potential clients. In the end you need to be as diligent in your search for a highly skilled and competent VA as you would for a permanent employee. You and your VA can enjoy a lasting long productive relationship.

Source by Carmela Williams

Home Based Internet Business – Top 5 Benefits

If you are thinking of starting a home based internet business, you are not alone. Every day on the internet, tens of thousands of people start a home based business, and even more are searching for one. So what are the benefits to having your own home based business? Here are the top 5 benefits to owning your own home based internet business.


When you have your own online business, the greatest advantage is freedom. There is nothing in the world like being able to get up in the morning and not have to go to work like everyone else. How about a short 10 second commute to your home office, or even staying in bed and working from your laptop! That’s what I would call freedom.


This benefit kind of picks up where the freedom benefit leaves off. What would it mean to you if you were able to drop off your kids at school every morning, or even attend special events at their school? How would you like to be able to take your spouse out to lunch, or maybe just spend the day at the beach? These types of things are all possible when you have your own home based internet business.


When you have your own business, you can set your own income. No one is telling you that you can’t have that raise you have been waiting for. Your online income is only limited by your imagination. If you want to make more money, all you need to do is put more effort into your business. Besides being able to set your own income, you will also be able to save an enormous amount of money on commuting. How much money do you spend every month commuting to your job? This can also add up to many hundreds of dollars every month.

Tax Advantages

Once you have your own home based business, you are eligible for many tax advantages as well. You will be able to deduct for items you are already using. Things like your high-speed internet connection, cell phone, home phone, electric bill, computer or laptop. The list goes on and on. This can add up to a substantial amount of tax savings, even if you decide to keep your day job. You should consult with you tax advisor about what you will be able to deduct.


This is one of the greatest benefits to having your own home based internet business. The Internet is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also leverage yourself through the use of affiliate marketing. This is a way to leverage yourself by having your own affiliates working for you whether you work or not.

There are many different types of home based internet business opportunities available. No matter what business you decide to do, there are similar benefits to each one. For those of you who are willing to work at it, the rewards can be substantial, both personally and financially.

Source by Darren Rosenwinkel

10 Tips to Lose Weight Fast

You might come across thousands of articles on the internet about the techniques to be adopted for losing weight. There are some techniques which are easy to follow while some others require your time and energy. So what is best the way out? I am going to tell 10 simple tips which can be followed if you want to shed extra pounds effectively.

Below are 10 tips for losing weight fast and healthy.

1. Take the time to experiment with food

Everyone knows that eating healthy is the first prerequisite for a diet with enduring results. It is the only way that you will lose weight and kept the extra pounds off. This is why you should try a lot of different healthy foods so that you will never get bored of your menu and start eating foods that will add to your waistline.

2. Have Smaller Meals

This is something that you will see mentioned in many diets and for good reasons. If you eat smaller meals, you won’t put any strain on your stomach, and you will also get used to eating less every time you sit down at the table. This is a sure fire way to cut down on your portions on the long run.

3. Drink Lots of Water

This is mandatory not only for losing weight but for living an overall healthy life. Water is the fuel that drives your metabolism so get a lot of it to make sure that you keep burning as many calories as possible throughout the day.

4. Avoid Alcohol

In case you didn’t know it, Alcohol comes with a significant sugar concentration so if you want to lose weight fast, remove it from the menu completely. If you are in a social situation where you absolutely must raise a glass, go for red wine because it gives you a nice metabolism boost and increases your blood flow.

5. Don’t eat after 6 pm

This is another golden rule in the Tips for losing weight fast book. The idea behind it is to avoid eating during the period of the day when your physical activity will be reduced significantly, and you won’t burn as many calories.

6. Stay away from Junk Foods and Processed Foods

This should go without saying, but there are many people out there that manage to convince themselves that it’s OK to eat that McDonald’s Salad and completely forget about the fat-laden dressing that it comes with.

7. Run

Out of all the tips for losing weight fast, this is the simplest and most effective I can give you. Just go outside and run because there is no way you will get rid of the extra pounds fast, without any physical exercise.

8. Eat Raw Food

Include vegetables and fruits in your menu but don’t add them, use them to replace other cooked foods.

9. Don’t eat before you sleep

Try to always be active after a meal because it is the only way you will lose weight fast.

10. Never leave the table feeling full

If you want to shed off pounds fast, always leave the table feeling a little bit hungry.

There you have it; these are my 10 Tips for Losing Weight Fast. Follow all of them, and you should see results sooner than you expect.

Source by Eric Dladla

San Francisco Hip Guide Part 1 – Drinking Like a Local

While most events in San Francisco happen at night, there is a sweet spot that's not too early, not too late, it's Happy Hour. Wherever you're from, you have it there too, but Happy Hours in San Francisco are not like other part of the country. Sure, there are the loosen your tie and grab a beer places, with flush face white guys yammering on about the account they just landed or techies, fresh off the trade-show floor at the convention center, but you need to avoid these places, There nothing you can not find anywhere at those spots. The Happy Hours you need to be at are at art galleries and hipster hole in the walls, with music, cheap drinks, dancing and attractive potential mates. Below are some of my top spots to stop for a beer when you want to hang out.

111 Minna – Check out the 111 Minna Gallery, especially on Wednesday nights for their long running Qool party. Two bars and hundreds of city hipsters congregating for DJs and socializing.

Elbo Room – Chicken wings on the grill and a huge outdoor patio, it's the alterna-hip spot for happy hour, located in the Mission. If you pay attention you might even get a free shot when they play the secret song. Hint: Think Dancing Queen.

Zeitgeist – Hey everybody, come to a big parking lot with port-o-potties and get drunk at picnic tables! I know I'm not selling it, but there are some places that can get away with being kinda nothing at base level, but they've got something that makes it the place to be. Zeitgeist is that dive.

Tokyo- A-Go-Go: With arguably the best sushi in San Francisco, Tokyo Go Go also has one of the best happy-hours in this city of plenty. Wide-open and lofty, there is so much space it is amazing that the servers can keep up with the crowd. Great fruit-infused snack cocktails tempt the senses while fresh sashimi and exciting rolls fill the void. Very Mission, very reasonable and very good.

Wish – If you work in SOMA or live anywhere near 11th and Folsom, hell even if you do not, you owe it to yourself to stop on down to Wish sometimes for their happy hour. With the dj playing chilled out electronica, a glass of complimentary peanuts and $ 2 Fat Tire in your hand, you will wonder how people manage to not make every night a happy hour. After you have that nice warm buzz from the drinks, you can head over to Bowser's pizza or to Sushi Groove across the street for some killer food and Sake.

Source by Steve Salmon