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Encourage staff and managers to take their vacation time. Even a day or two of vacation can make a huge difference in employee motivation. Now is the best time to plan the summer schedule and ensure that your employees are taking those earned and deserved vacation days and Texas .

USA Today published that some 51% of executives surveyed by Accountemps, Menlo Park, Calif., a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals, maintain they are more productive after a vacation than before.

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Now there is more proof that vacations increase employee productivity and even improve overall health, as the Travel Industry Association released its conclusions from studies of data that looked at the health benefits of vacation travel.

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A New Year and a Happier You: 3 Benefits of Giving

It is almost that time again: time to reflect on the old year and bring in the new. What is your New Year's Resolution?

If you are making a New Year's Resolution, you are not alone. Millions of Americans make a New Year's Resolution. While popular goals are weight loss or to stop smoking, there may be one goal you haven't thought of before. Giving to charity—whether it’s money, donations, or your time—is a great way to kick off the new year. Besides helping others in need, giving to charity has several positives for the giver.

Even if life is going great, giving can be a challenge. Money and resources can always be spent elsewhere and finding the time to volunteer can be tricky. Despite these challenges, giving can reap personal and even financial benefits that outweigh the sacrifice.

Here are the biggest benefits of giving back this new year:

1. Make Your Brain Happy

Science may not seem to have much in common with the matters of the heart, so you might be surprised at this first benefit. Donating can activate the reward areas of your brain. A study from the University of Oregon showed that charitable actions trigger a similar reaction to drugs or other pleasurable stimuli, releasing happy chemicals including dopamine and endorphins. Another research study from the National Institutes of Health looked at participants who decided to donate a portion of $100. The people who did donate experienced a similarly positive reaction in their brains.

Instead of splurging on a new dress or pair of jeans, make a New Year's Resolution to donate to charity and enjoy the good vibes.

2. Help Others Who Need it Most

In a perfect world, there’s always a good time to give. But real life is different. There’s always a friend's birthday or big vacation to save up for. But while you are making your big plans for the new year, there will always be someone out there who could use your help.

Giving back doesn't always have to mean monetary donations. Volunteering your time and your talents can be an incredible gift as well. Do you have a knack for arts and crafts? Make a resolution to work with the kids in the neighborhood to build simple art products. Are you a musician? Visit your nearest nursing home and perform a mini-show for the residents.

There are times where it’s tricky to donate time or money. If you own a good amount of extra clothing or toys, you can donate these to your local thrift store or organization. These items are especially useful during a natural disaster when families have lost everything and need the basics to get back on their feet.

3. Be a Role Model for Friends and Family

If your New Year's Resolution is to connect better with your children, consider donating to charity. Seeing you give will set a solid example for children - think of others and help those in need. You can also encourage your children to give a portion of their allowance or go through their old toys to see what they can give away. It’s important to let your children decide on what to give so they don't feel like it’s another chore.

Tell your family and friends about your resolution to give more this year. Letting them know will help make you accountable throughout the year as well as motivate them to donate.

When you do give, make it personal. Do research and find causes important to you. Don't feel limited to giving money: your time and old items can be equally helpful to those in need.  

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4 Easy Ways to Save On Your Next Vacation

"Vacation used to be a luxury but in today's world it has become a necessity." - Author Unknown

Tomorrow, my family, a couple friends, and I will leave for a beach vacation at my favorite place on the planet -- Rosemary Beach, Florida. We have made this same trip on and off for years. Rosemary Beach is idyllic for a family trip -- it's beautiful, quaint, and safe. And importantly, it is home to one of Florida's most beautiful beaches along the Emerald Coast.

To put it mildly, I love the beach. I cannot adequately describe in words why I am so drawn there. I've often thought it might be because, as science teaches us, man's body fluid is basically identical to the mineral make-up of the ocean water. As babies, we swim in the ocean of our mother's womb. Maybe man has a life-long desire to return to his earliest environment.

I love it all. The warm wind on my forearms, the smell of the ocean mixed with suntan lotion, the feel of the sand on my feet. I love the way the ocean wind dries my skin and blows in my hair. I love to think about what is going on out there -- deep in that ocean. A day in the sun brings a relaxation I cannot attain elsewhere.

On my beach vacations, I have three goals in mind. First, I want to simply enjoy what I have described above. I also treasure the time with my wife and children when we're not so busy with the obligations and distractions of our everyday lives. My wife and I can take long beach walks and have long talks. I love to ride my rented bicycle every place I need to go. I love to eat fresh seafood, sip the finest bourbon, and smoke good cigars. I will read a fun book.

My second goal will be to use some time each day to reflect on the past year. I will look at how things in my life have changed and what has remained constant. I will relish in personal victories and I also will make some resolutions for the year to come. This year, my most overriding thoughts will be about trying to live in the present moment, trying to live more mindfully, and in a more positive way. I want to slow down. I want so deeply to be a better and more positive person.

The last goal I will have is to recharge. I am mindful that my "current" needs recharging from time to time. I will rest a good bit. There will be no stress -- my most arduous task will be shaving, and my most pressing decision will be how many times a day I should hit the Sugar Shak for ice cream. I will play silly games and hopefully laugh out loud on more than one occasion. I will return home ready for another year.

Each day, I will make my marks in the sand -- my footprints. But just like every year, the ocean will soon wash them away. There will be no trace of my having been by that ocean save for the traces left in my soul; I hope this year I leave meaningful traces there.

Yes, I am looking forward to my vacation. I need it, and I'm going to enjoy it. If you can, please try to do the same for yourself. We all need time for rest, reflection, and recharging. Peace.

Copyright 2011. True Self Enterprises, Inc.


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