Monday, December 15, 2014

How to save time on your laundry

I have been writing a lot about managing house chores after marriage and recently I published an experience of dry cleaning services too. 
Looking at the difficulties I am facing while managing my household, Surf Excel Team approached me with some ideas on saving time on laundry.

Would love to share with my readers, hence publishing the time saving tips on my blog:

If you're a working woman, it can be difficult to find the time to do your laundry – you’re exhausted when you’re getting home in the evening, and would rather spend your weekends relaxing than doing chores. The good news is that whilst doing your laundry will probably never be your favourite activity, it doesn’t need to be something you dread doing either. Take a look at these simple tips for saving time when doing your laundry – so you can go back to that book or TV show in no time at all, or even squeeze in a load in the morning before you head out.

Preparation is key: washing your laundry load together doesn't save you time – actually, quite the opposite. Make sure to always sort your clothes into different baskets or bags as you go. This not only saves you valuable minutes of sorting socks in front of the washing machine but also ensures a smooth washing cycle with no colour bleeding accidents. It will also save you time in the long run, when you don't have to replace faded items or the accidental pink shirt – and save you the panic of potentially ruining your favourite work shirt. Separating into whites, darks, and colours is all you should need, with the occasional delicate cycle for silk and lace items.

Keep it clean: In order to clean and dry your clothes efficiently, it’s important to occasionally clean the washing machine and dryer themselves. Give them a good scrub from time to time, and make sure to remove excess water and lint from the dryer to get maximum efficiency. Tip: Add a dry towel to the drying load with your wet clothes if you’re in a hurry – it will absorb moisture and save you time!

Don’t overdo it: You might think that overloading your washing machine saves you time – after all, the more you can do at once, the better, right? Unfortunately, if you’re overloading your washing machine, its performance will suffer, and your clothes might in fact not get cleaned properly. There might be detergent residue, and in the long run, your machine might even decide it can’t take this anymore – all the more reason to stick to shorter cycles if you’re in a hurry, but do more rounds instead.

Soak it: If you’re facing a stubborn stain, don’t wait until after the washing and drying cycle to remove it – by that time, the colour might have set in your fabric. Instead, take a few extra minutes to remove the stain beforehand, soaking it and carefully dabbing at the stain using household items such as vinegar and washing liquid, depending on what kind of stain you’re facing.

Learn to fold: It’s not just about doing your laundry; it’s also about what you do next. Learn a few efficient folding techniques if you're not exactly a pro in that department yet – this saves you a lot of time, and, if you're doing a good job, you can even avoid ironing your clothes that way.

Use the time wisely: The good news is that once your laundry is in the dryer or washer, you don’t need to look after it for at least an hour. Use that hour wisely – make breakfast, get some work done, or even go for a quick run. Sometimes having a limited period of time available can increase your productivity, so in the end, you might even find yourself gaining time while doing your laundry. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

GOSF 2014 brings lot of Fun & Excitement Along for Shopaholics

The Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) was created by Google India on 12th Dec 2012 in collaboration with a number of Indian Online Shopping portals.  The concept of the GOSF was that the online shopping sites would give heavy discounts for one day, in order to promote their sales.                                                                                                                                                      ~Wikipedia

In 2013, the Great Online Shopping Festival was held on 11–14 December. It was a huge success as it let the online shoppers buy online on heavy discounts.

Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) is here to delight online shopaholics again in 2014 between 10-12 Dec.

GOSF Pre-Party begun on 25 Nov 2104, 14 Days before GOSF.  Here are the highlights of GOSF Pre-Party in India:
  ü  Google has partnered with 14 brands and organizing contests every day from 25th Nov to 9th Dec. 14 Minutes of Free Shopping Every Day for 14 Days #WinGOSF14
  ü  Google has also selected 14 cities and launched exclusive games to test your shopping speed and chance to win some amazing gifts. Check GOSF Game Page!
  ü  As an online shopper, you can register for a reminder of GOSF and be in line when Great Online Shopping Festival Opens!

What Else in GOSF 2014?
  ü  Exclusive Launch Corner – From Dec 10- Dec 12, there will be a whole corner dedicated to launch never seen in India products during GOSF
  ü  Rs. 299 Corner - From Dec 10- Dec 12, there will be a Rs. 299 corner where all the products will cost no more that Rs. 299 including free home delivery and CoD from hundreds of retailers.

14 Brands that partnered with Google for GOSF Pre-Party

Asian Paints (#WinGOSF14)

· During GOSF Asian Paints is offering 50% discount on exlusive range of Asian Paints color books!

Value: 50% Off on MRP
Valid Till: 14 Dec 2014

· Consultancy at Home: Book an appointment with Asian Paints Color Consultant and enjoy a flat discount of Rs. 500 on the booking amount. 

Value: Rs. 500 Off on Booking Amount
Valid Till: 14 Dec 2014

JetAirways (#OnCloud9W)
On 26th Nov’14, Jet Airways launched a contest with Grand Prizes including A Trip 2 Paris for couple including all the expenses, 14 minutes free shopping worth Rs. 2.5 lacs and 10 Free Tickets of domestic flights.

KindlePaperWhite (#WinGOSF14)           
Amazon organized a simple Kindle PaperWhite #WinGOSF14 Contest on 27th Nov 2014.

Micromax (#NowEveryoneCan , #WinGOSF14)
Micromax ran a content on 28th Nov 2014 to win a chance of 14 Minutes Free Shopping worth Rs. 250,000/-
I also participated in the contest. Check out my tweets on J
Crossing my fingers.. Hope I win. :D

HP (#WinGOSF14 , #BendtheRules)
HP is doing a contest today (29 Nov 2014) around HP Pavilion x360 where you need to answer few easy questions based on clues given and you can win a chance of 14 Minutes Free Shopping up to Rs. 2 Lakhs.
Hurry up, Participate in HP GOSF 2014 Contest now!

GOSF Pre-Party - 14 Brands that Partnered with Google for GOSF 2014
Contest Details
Contest Link
Asian Paints
1) 50% discount on exlusive range of Asian Paints color books!                                             2) Book an appointment with Asian Paints Color Consultant and enjoy a flat discount of Rs. 500 on the booking amount.
Jet Airways
#WinGOSF14 , #OnCloud9W
Jet Airways launched a contest with Grand Prizes including A Trip 2 Paris for couple including all the expenses, 14 minutes free shopping worth Rs. 2.5 lacs and 10 Free Tickets of domestic flights.
Kindle PaperWhite
Amazon organized a simple Kindle PaperWhite #WinGOSF14 Contest on 27th Nov 2014.
(#NowEveryoneCan , #WinGOSF14
Micromax ran a content on 28th Nov 2014 to win a chance of 14 Minutes Free Shopping worth Rs. 250,000/-
#WinGOSF14 , #BendtheRules
HP is doing a contest today (29 Nov 2014) around HP Pavilion x360 where you need to answer few easy questions based on clues given and you can win a chance of 14 Minutes Free Shopping up to Rs. 2 Lakhs.
Upload your Selfie using #MyAskmeSelfie & #WinGOSF14 on 30th Nov & win big!
#craftsvillagosf, #WinGOSF14
Tweet your favorite product on Craftsvilla along with the hashtags and stand a chance to win 14 Minutes of Free Shopping during GOSF
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Worst Experience with Super Fine Dry Cleaners Sector 22 Huda Market, Gurgaon - Review

Winters are here so I thought to get my old jackets and coats dry cleaned. 
I shifted to this new area after marriage 10 months back. So I didn't have much idea of nearby dry cleaning services in Gurgaon.

I got to know that there is one dry cleaner service (Super Fine Dry Cleaners) in sector 22 Huda Market. 
As it was my first time with them so I thought to check their services by giving only one coat for dry cleaning. (Though I did not want to give that particular coat for dry cleaning as it was one of my favorite winter wear. But I needed that for another occasion very soon. So with a little fear I still gave that coat to Super Fine dry cleaning Services.)

(A new coat that I bought last year from Pantaloons for an event with Chitrangada Singh (costed me around 5500 Rs). I hardly wore it 3-4 times last year including that event and my pre-wedding photoshoot. )

My Red Coat which has been spoiled by Super Fine Dry Cleaners 

My Red Coat which has been spoiled by Super Fine Dry Cleaners :(

I had no idea what was going to happen with that coat after I delegated it to Super fine dry cleaners last week. 
I gave the coat for dry cleaning last sunday (15 Nov'2014). They said they will dry clean it and give me back on 19th of Nov 2014 in the evening. I was Ok with it. 

In the afternoon the lady from dry cleaning services called me (while I was in a meeting) and said that she would be able to give me the coat after 2-3 days as it has some spots. I was in a very important meeting and I said, "Ok, I will come on coming Sunday to take it.) 
This was my biggest mistake to let her take another 2-3 days while the coat had no spots when I gave it for dry cleaning. Also, she checked the coat properly while taking it for dry cleaning. Had there been any spot, she would have said it then and there. But I was in the meeting and in a hurry to cut the call, so I said yes for what she said.

Then I called super fine dry cleaners again last sunday (22nd Nov 2014) and she said to me that she will call back and tell if my coat was ready.
Then my husband said, there is some problem. Let's directly go and check the coat. 

We went to the shop and asked for the coat. She said, "Yes it's ready and gave it to me". I looked at the coat, it was faded and had several light blue ink spots on it. :(
On top of it when I raised the issue, a worker from their shop said that a thread in coat left its color. I fumed like anything. A Red coat worth Rs. 5500/- will have stitching done from a blue thread. Is it? What an excuse!

It simply looked like they have washed it with a blue colored cloth and the coat has got blue stains. Then they tried to remove those stains with some kind of chemical that let the color fade from those places.

Again they (Super fine dry cleaners, shop run by husband and wife) said, "Ok, if you are saying this is our mistake. Please give us time till tuesday (25th Nov 2014). We will check at the workshop if something happened there. 
After a lot of argument, I left the coat with them for two more days as I had no other option. 

And today (it's 25th Nov), they again called me and said that it will take another 2-3 days. 
I literally shouted on the phone and after that I wrote this blog post. 

Please be very careful while giving your clothes/winter wear for dry cleaning. 
After this post I am heading to Super Fine Dry Cleaners however I know I wouldn't be able to get back my beautiful Red Coat in good condition. But I don't want others to ruin their stuff. So I wrote this spontaneous review for people living in Gurgaon. 
Beware of Super fine Drycleaners in Gurgaon!

Probably I will take the pictures of my ruined coat and their shop today and update in this post. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

10 Tips to Help You Improve Your Career in SEO

Image Source : Google

No one grow knowing they want to be digital marketing professionals. It is only when they join and later realize it was the only thing they could do the best. Same happened with me. I fell in love with my profile after I started working in SEO. :)

To begin with..
When I joined SEO in 2009, many of my batch mates had already joined big and well-known MNCs and were enjoying the corporate culture. While I landed in a five-seater company with pretty low salary. I didn’t know consciously at that time but now I am able to understand that somewhere within I had already taken that as a career challenge.
Along with that I have been lucky enough to work in organizations where I had the freedom of experimenting with new things. I worked with bosses who always inspired me to read a lot and stay updated.

I think these were the two factors that helped me grow as a decent SEO Professional.

What made me write this post?

It’s been more than a year to my post scope of SEO as a career in India. After this post I am receiving lot of emails from SEO new comers (experience ranging between 6 months to 2 years) related to growth and improvement in their career.
The queries are similar and it’s tough to answer emails every time so I decided to write a blog post sharing my thoughts on improving career in SEO.
Well, the fact is getting a Search Engine Optimization job in India is very easy but the journey to grow as a good SEO is really difficult.
Growth of Internet and Dot Com in India has created huge demand for online marketing professionals both in-house and in agencies. However somewhere there is a gap between industry expectations and skill-sets of SEOs in India. In spite of a huge supply of SEOs, companies are struggling to get good SEOs onboard.

Here are few tips to improve as SEO Professional and boost career
       1. Define Success for yourself
When I get queries from passed out Engineers who are working as SEOs while struggling to get into software, I recall my days.
I also eagerly tried to get into software development during first six months of SEO job. It happens with majority of Engineers who take up SEO job as an option till the time they get into software industry.
The truth is we have grown up with that very dream. A well-paid job in software industry along with opportunity to go onsite; this is success’s definition. But for whom? For you or for society? Think about it.
Is it only about money? Or is it about popularity? Or is it about having both? Is it a software job or an onsite opportunity? Or what is it which is success for you? Define it yourself. Sooner you do better it is.

       2.   Read on a daily basis
SEO is one the most dynamic industries where rules change and updates happen almost every day. So you just cannot avoid reading.
Recently while hiring for SEO position, I thought to ask some tricky questions. One of which was, how do you optimize meta-keywords tag? And to my surprise, 95% of candidates had a way to optimize it for Google Rankings. The simple answer was Meta Keywords has no relevance to Google Rankings and Googlepublished a post on Webmasters Blog back in 2009 related to this. Just imagine the situation, candidates are not aware of industry updates at all!

       3.    Think beyond Off Page Submissions
SEO is very broad. But the sad part is for most of the SEOs, it doesn’t go beyond Off Page submissions.
One should have a good understanding of HTML, tit bits of PHP, Javascript, CSS and content management systems.
Apart from that link acquisition is no more social bookmarks and directory submissions. One should experiment in link acquisition techniques too.
The common excuse is that I don’t get a chance to work on other things except submissions in my company. Come on, do something besides showing up to job and going back home.
There are many ways to learn like take up a side project not for money but for learning or start a blog and experiment on it.
No one can stop you from learning all this if you want to.

            4.  Excel in Excel
B.Tech Final Year – It was my Project Viva when External Examiner said,”No one would hire you even for MS Office, forget about software”. :p
And I didn’t care. Because I had no idea how powerful it was. And I was already placed by the way. I thought who cares, they have already hired me and would train me on whatever they want to.
Later when I started working I realized it is one of the crucial skills for any job.
What analysis can you do if you don’t know Excel properly? Which Reports can you make if you don’t know MS Office properly? How can you present yourself in a conference room if you don’t know Power Point.
And for online marketing, if you don’t know graphs and formulas in MS Excel it would be difficult to go very far.

       5.  Work on communication skills
Here I should rather be direct in saying, learn Basic Speaking and Writing in English.
It is very disappointing to see emails written in bad English. I am not asking to become a writer but at least learn basic grammar as well as how to draft emails.

       6.  Network (be friends) with right people
If get a chance go to conferences, meetups, swap emails and twitter etc. with industry people. Discussions help you understand what they are doing. It will also motivate you to do even better.

       7. Investment on a blog/website = Investment on learning
Don’t learn just by reading what others write. Read, experiment and make your own theorems. Great SEO skills come from experimenting rather than following.
Ofcourse you cannot experiment on a client’s website. Why not create your own blog/website and experiment there. See what works and what doesn’t.

       8. Learn to articulate
Articulation is an art. I always suggest people to take up blogging. It helps in improving your writing skills and also helps you in understanding how to express. I say so because I have experienced that change in me.
It helped me connect more with the issues that content writers face in team. And it also connected me with many wonderful and creative souls in blogging across the World which is an awesome experience to have.

       9. SEO > Online Marketer > Entrepreneur – Think of ROI every time you think of SEO
SEO is one of the channels of Online Marketing. And like any other marketing the goal here is to get business for client. Think beyond rankings.

      10. Learn to Manage
In future the next step can be leading or managing a team. So learn to manage yourself because it is the first thing anyone needs when he/she gets a team to manage. Managing others is easy than managing yourself.
Work on things like time management, read about management styles etc.

Above ten tips are not all for improving your career in SEO. However they are enough to take you one step ahead of what you are doing currently. You are welcomed to share your thoughts, queries and any other tips to boost career as SEO Professional in comments. Good luck!

Disclaimer: This post is solely based on experiences and learning from my own journey as SEO Professional in India. The motive of writing this post is to share career growth tips with SEO freshers.