Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

How to Tidy Up Your Gmail Account

Anyone with a kink for easy-mail management has likely stayed away from GMail over the years. Despite its superior storage sizes, ease of use, and incredible reliability, you’ll find very few people who decided to open an account with GMail because of its ability to easily-organize their inbox. That’s because, quite frankly, it doesn’t have it.

However, there are some strategies you can begin using today to start battling into that monolithic horde of unread messages currently waiting to be read by you. No, you don’t need to be intimidated by their sheer numbers anymore, for they’re mostly just talk. That’s why, today, we’re going to share some tips which help you to tidy up your GMail account, show you specific techniques you can use, and also teach you how to make sure you never have more than a handful of unread messages leering menacingly at you in the future (well, unless a lot of people actually want to speak to you, anyway).

Search!

The first thing you need to do is SEARCH! Yes, take a quick look at your inbox, and identify which companies or people are sending you the most nuisance emails. Then type their name into the search box across the top of the screen. You may need to click the little ‘down arrow’ at the right of the box to enter more specific criteria (such as the sender’s email address, which you can get from just next to their name in any of their messages, or by excluding chats so that anything you’ve responded to doesn’t get caught up in your purge).

Once you’ve managed to cast the net just wide enough to catch all the nonsense you don’t need, go ahead and click the small grey checkbox under the search bar to select every message. You’ll then be prompted by GMail with a message to the effect of “All 50 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search”. Click on the underlined text so that you can select all messages (rather than having to delete 50 at a time), and then click the little trash-bin icon below the search bar.

Repeat this process for everyone who’s been sending you bulk-emails concerning things you never needed to know about, until your inbox is small enough that you can go through and delete the remainders one-by-one.

Unsubscribe!

While you’re deleting emails from the above-mentioned batch-message distributors, remember to open one of their correspondences up. At the bottom, they should have provided you with a link to somewhere you can go to explicitly unsubscribe to future communications from them.

In fact, the CAN-SPAM bill which was approved by then President George Bush back in 2003 was updated in 2008; one of the biggest benefits of this update was a legal requirement for anyone distributing marketing emails to provide a way for their users to easily opt-out of future correspondences. So, if anyone’s been sending you generic messages on a regular basis, they should have done this.

If, on the other hand, you can’t find a way to unsubscribe, search for all their messages (as above) and send them to your spam folder. GMail will no longer bother you about future emails from that particular sender, and all their messages will immediately be junked (however, they will be in your spam folder for a short while, so you can read them if you really want to).

Categorize

Even though GMail doesn’t allow you to use conventional folders in your inbox, you can quite easily categorize messages using their own proprietary “Labels” feature. This allows you to related messages with the same keyword, even if they haven’t arrived in your inbox yet. This is done by setting up a series of filters (which are well worth Googling if you don’t already know about them). Filters are, essentially, a set of rules which instruct GMail on how to handle messages as they arrive in your inbox.

Add-Ons

While we won’t go into explicit details about add-ons in this post, there’s definitely some amazing tools you can use to make managing your GMail account less stressful. Most notable is Email Game (emailga.me), which will present you with your inbox serially, meaning that you have to deal with each message one-by-one. It may sound painful, but it’s a great way to ensure that emails no longer get bounced around or are left to fester in your inbox!

Using these tools, you can immediately get to work on tidying your GMail account, and we hope that you’ll find them as useful as we do ourselves. Until next time, remember to keep checking back for more awesome (and helpful!) articles like this one. Ciao!

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5 ways to protect your children while you’re away

As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about your children’s safety. That feeling is amplified when you’re away on business or working. It’s never easy leaving a child unsupervised. In fact, depending on their age it could also be illegal to leave them alone or unattended.

However, if your kids are old enough to spend a few hours alone at home but young enough to be at some risk, you need to take certain precautions before you leave them. Here are five ways you can protect your kids while you’re away:

  1. Install surveillance

Surveillance cameras could be your best bet to monitor the house and make sure your children are safe. Try to get an integrated system that hooks up to the internet and lets you livestream video while you’re away. Also, inform your alarm company about the hours you’ll be away so that they can be more alert. Leave signs and posters around the house to advertise your security. This is probably the best way to deter burglars and keep your kids safe.

  1. Create an illusion

Another great way to keep your kids safe is to create the illusion that you’re at home. Leave some of the lights on and keep a pile of unopened mail out the front door. You can even invest in timers that schedule turning lamps on and off. Attackers won’t target a house if they think the whole family is at home.

  1. Keep It Off Social Media

A surefire way to put your kids at risk is to broadcast your location on social media. If you’re travelling or working, keep it off social media so that no one knows your kids are unattended. Nearly eight out of ten burglars use social media to figure out your location before planning an attack.

  1. Trust a friend

If you’ve got a friend who lives close by, get them to check on your kids regularly. You can even ask a neighbour to drop in from time to time. Perhaps the best way to keep your kids safe is to hire a professional babysitter while you’re away.

  1. Train Your Kids

Teach your kids all the basics of being safe while you’re not around. Speak to them openly about the risks and make sure they know the dangers of talking to strangers or leaving the house without permission. Give them a spare pair of keys if you think they can handle it. Get them to check on the electricals and gas stoves. Make sure they have all the emergency contact numbers they might need.

It’s never easy leaving your kids unattended. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions if you have to step out for a few hours or more.

How to Pick the Right Boarding School

Having a great education sets the foundation for success. Statistics show that those who receive a great education, on average do much better in just about all measures of life.

There are many approaches parents take to ensure their children receive a great education. Some choose home schooling which allows them to control every aspect of their child’s education from curriculum to the amount of hours spent every day on school work. Some parents choose to put their kids in a formalized learning environment controlled by educators who have a track record for getting great results.

Both of these approaches can work well depending upon the child. But what is certain, is that children do better academically when they have few distractions and are literally living in an environment built to support learning.

This is perhaps why boarding schools consistently graduate the world’s top students. They offer a completely planned out education strategy and a setting that is proven to create high performing students.

But like everything in life, not all boarding schools are created equal and parents interested in sending a child to a boarding school needs to study their options and have a checklist for deciding on the right school. Here are some of the items to include on your checklist:

Educational Credentials

At the heart of any great school is its academic track record, so you will want to examine the education credentials of each boarding school you are considering. It should reveal a school that has top tier teaching curriculum, highly credentialed teachers and a large percentage of the student body that is excelling in classes.

For those who are not excelling in their classes, there should a support system in place that gets to the bottom of why and corrects these deficiencies in a very systematic and deliberate manner.

Further you should find that students are being accepted in high numbers at the top universities and there should be a number of alumni that have gone on to have standout careers in their chosen fields. All of this information should be made available by the school either as an introduction to their approach and accomplishments in this area or upon your request.

Recognized Leaders in Their Specialty Areas

Many boarding schools specialize in a particular subject or subjects. There are schools that are renowned for graduating future politicians and others that excel at creating future business leaders. There are boarding schools with performing arts programs that are the industry standard, and others who graduate top scientists. Make sure if you are interviewing a school that has a particular specialty area, that they have a great reputation for graduating successful professionals in that industry.

A Large Number of Students are Boarders

Practically every boarding school also has students that are day students, meaning those that go home in the afternoons and are not on the school campus during the weekends. So you want to make sure that there is a large enough amount of students that actually stay at the school to ensure that your child will have company during the evenings and weekends. Being far away from home with no one around can be extremely taxing and disorienting on young people. Without lots of other kids boarding, there will be fewer activities available for them to partake in, and fewer friends for them to make. So ask the school about the number of students who are boarders.

Appropriate Values and Traditions

Many boarding schools have been around for decades and some for hundreds of years. During their time in existence they develop an ethos or set of characteristics that come to define the school. Some schools are regarded as very tough and stringent regarding academics, others have a strong record of compassion, while others have a reputation for developing creative skills in students. You should understand this ethos and decide if it fits with what you want for your child.

Focus on Extra-curricular Activities

When your child is not in class or studying there will be considerable free time. Boarding schools try and fill this time with productive activities. You need to be sure that there are enough of the type of activities that will appeal to your child, going on all year long at the school.

Most boarding schools have excellent facilities for music, sports and other types of activities on campus. The school should offer all sorts of group activities built around these facilities. This means singing and music groups, sports teams, drama productions, debate groups, and others, and students should be strongly encouraged to join.

There is also an opportunity to work within the community around the school as a volunteer. These types of activities give students the chance to meet new people and make new friends and develop character. They also build student’s character and school record, which will be looked on positively by universities.

Deciding where to send your child to school is a big challenge. When you add the need to ensure they are also cared for well while they learn, it complicates things even more. Do your homework and you will learn information that will help you make a good choice.