You can’t beat a good night’s sleep, but you can spend your waking hours better

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Photo by Vedad Colic from Pexels

For as long as I can remember, I have had a difficult relationship with sleep. When insomnia strikes I can find myself awake for 3–5 hours a night. This has gone on for so long that I’ve basically accepted it as an inevitable part of life.

Studies have shown that people who tend toward stress, or perfectionism, are more likely to suffer with insomnia. Well, that’s me. And whilst these are traits I am working on, in the meantime I’m trying to appreciate the gifts that insomnia can bring.

There is something surreal about the time spent awake when everything around you is sleeping. Even inanimate objects seem to breathe like they’re in blissful slumber, recovering from their busy daylight hours. If you look hard enough you can find the good in most things, so I want to share with you some of the unexpected positives that insomnia can bring into your life. …

Lessons learned from 20 years in the business

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I built my first website in 2001. That is millennia in internet years.

Over that time I’ve learned many things, in life and in web development.

Now, as a successful business owner, who’s worked on hundreds of websites, I’d like to share my key learnings with you.

This advice for web developers is well-honed. It comes from hard lessons. I wish somebody had told me this stuff when I was starting out in my career.

#1 Share what you know, don’t hoard away your knowledge and experience

Some of the best developers I’ve worked with have been open to mentoring their peers. …

How to get past the flawed paradigm of time-based pricing

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Photo by Eugene Shelestov from Pexels

As a freelancer you probably get asked your day rate on a regular basis.

What’s your reply?

If you’re anything like me, your response probably changes depending on who’s asking. Maybe the question itself even breaks you out in a cold sweat.

In my view, this way of pricing our work — by time — is problematic. In fact, I would suggest that the whole paradigm of time-based rates is fundamentally flawed.

But working this way is unfortunately the norm. It doesn’t help that every recruiter and job portal seems to ask about your rates, either. …

Why does every country on the planet undervalue creativity?

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Photo by russn_fckr on Unsplash

To what extent do you feel that school nurtured your natural abilities?

If like me, your innate aptitude was for creative expression more than hard subjects like mathematics and science, your answer is probably not very much.

According to the late Ken Robinson, a respected authority on the arts in education, every school system on the planet ranks subjects like art, dance, and music at the bottom of the pile.

“Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. Every one. Doesn’t matter where you go. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities. At the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on earth.” …

A guide to getting what you’re worth

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Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

If you’re a freelance writer your eyes might glaze over at the topic of pricing.

Do you charge per each written piece? Per word? Time? How much should you charge? It’s can be really confusing.

If you’ve never settled on the issue of pricing, I’m going to share a strategy for not only figuring this out, but for commanding a more deserving rate for your work.

Forget the ‘usual’ pricing methods

For the purpose of this article I’m going to ask you to ditch what you know about pricing your copywriting services. All that stuff about charging per word or by article, let it go.

I’m going to ask you to get inside the head of your client. …

Two science-backed methods for changing your sense of self and transforming your life

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Photo by Ben Sweet on Unsplash

The start of a new year always brings with it the temptation to do something new or different, doesn’t it? Even those who don’t buy into all that “new year, new me” stuff are charmed by the idea of making positive changes in this shining new dawn.

But most of us start off on the wrong foot without even realising it; we set ourselves goals based on who we are rather than who we want to be. This is a quick path to failure.

The classics, such as stopping smoking, can feel completely alien if you identify as a smoker. Regardless of what you’d like to change, you’ve probably subconsciously accepted that who you are is largely set in stone.

And what you can do if you missed the boat

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Photo: Andre Furtado/Pexels

Growing up, I was given very little advice about money management.

My parents approached the subject differently: one would hoard their payslips, opening only when absolutely necessary. The other would spend whatever they had in their pocket because “what’s money for?”

As an adult, I now recognize that neither philosophy is particularly healthy. These attitudes influenced my own habits, and as a consequence, it wasn’t until my early thirties that I finally began to take the subject of money a little more seriously.

Now at the age of 37, after a lot of hard work, I’m in a secure financial position. But it could be better had I recognized the importance of financial planning earlier. …

How technology is messing with your sense of self.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Have you ever compared yourself to somebody else, only to feel sad or frustrated that you may be lacking in some way? We all have from time to time. On a subconscious level, we probably make comparisons far more frequently than we would ever imagine.

Sociologists use the term “reference group” to explain why we’re so prone to comparing ourselves with others. A reference group is essentially the people around us. They shape our values, behavior, and appearance. We reference them to make sense of social norms. …

Three surprisingly tough, but rewarding years

I was 17 and a total nerd. More interested in spending every waking hour programming or playing Quake II, I totally matched the archetype of the Simpsons fry boy character.

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“My god you’re greasy…” Image from Simpsons Fandom

We all think of fast food workers as pimply dorks with no social skills, but for most employees this is pretty far from the truth. McDonalds is a fast-paced environment that leans heavily on being able to negotiate a number of different social situations, seamlessly and repeatedly.

For me, however, the geek glove fit perfectly, and I was well out of my depth.

It was spring 2002 and I was in my second year at college. Despite my deep interest for a career in IT, coming from a working class background in a town with few prospects meant that future success was certainly not guaranteed. I didn’t really know where I was going, but I knew one thing: I wanted some cash. …


Matt Saunders

English technology, entrepreneurship and self improvement writer who’s been around the block a few times.

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