Successful Meetings

5 Rules for Successful Meetings

5 Rules for Successful Meetings

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Meetings. The word has almost become synonymous with wasting time. To quote Captain Kirk, “A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.” Call a meeting and you could almost hear the collective groan from down the hall.

As an executive or a manager, if you are calling a meeting, here are five rules to ensure that your meeting does not end up wasting time, resources and money.

Related: 7 Secrets of the Most Productive Meetings

1. Before you schedule a meeting, justify it.

We are under the impression that meetings are, per se, productive. What if it were the opposite? What if meetings are mostly unproductive, and advisable only under specific conditions?

Before you call a meeting, justify it. Ask yourself, “What is my intended outcome? What am I trying to accomplish? Why do I need to put people in a room together?”

If you can not articulate the need for a meeting, don’t convene it. If you can, the process of articulation will enable you to sharpen your focus of what you want the meeting to accomplish and increase the chances of the meeting achieving your goals.

2. Invite players, not spectators.

We tend to over invite people to meetings. Just as we over “cc” people to emails, we assume it’s better to over-invite to a meeting then miss someone. That way of thinking may make sense for the annual holiday party, but it doesn’t for corporate meetings.

As a kid, I remember hearing a story about a village that wanted to honor their king with a barrel of wine. The townsmen mandated that everyone bring a pitcher of wine and collectively they will fill up the barrel. Each villager, assuming that everyone else would bring wine, filled his pitcher with water. The king received the gift only to find that the wine barrel consisted entirely of water.

The more people in a meeting, the less responsibility each person has. If each person does not feel necessary, they won’t be as diligent to follow up on discussed items. They will assume that others will do it. By limiting ‘spectators’, you keep the meetings shorter, more engaging and easier to have effective follow up. In short, you get more wine.

Related: Want More Productive Meetings? Try Getting Rid of the Chairs.

3. Meetings should not fill allotted time, allot time to fulfill the meeting.

We tend to meet for blocks of time that fit neatly into our calendars. That is a backwards way of looking at time allocation. You don’t fit the meeting into the calendar; you use the calendar to capture the time needed for the meeting.

Meetings should go only as long as they need to accomplish the specified goal. When you schedule a meeting, ask yourself how long you would it will take to accomplish the intended outcomes. Plan the meeting for that time, even if not in blocks of hours, half hours or even tens of minutes. Schedule an 18-minute meeting if you feel that’s what you need. Should you accomplish your goals in a shorter time, adjourn earlier.

Most of the unproductive time comes when people feel like there is more time allocated than necessary. Show your colleagues you respect their time by allocating what you anticipate is necessary and then end early if the task was accomplished sooner.

4. You called it, you own it.

Whoever called the meeting, needs to be responsible to drive the agenda and keep the meeting focused and action oriented.

Many times, a meeting is called and there is a lack of clarity as to who is in charge. One person starts and then another chimes in and redirects the conversation. While everyone should be able to participate, only one person should be responsible for the overall flow of the meeting. The “owner” should begin with an agenda and take responsibility to shepherd the meeting along in an efficient manner. At the end, the owner should be the one to allocate, and record, the action items.

5. End with action steps.

Meetings are a place to talk, but talk is cheap unless it’s followed by action. At the end of every meeting, there should be an announcement of action items that emerged from the discussion.

Those actions items should be circulated to the group and then discussed at the beginning of the next meeting. Meeting participants should know what they should be doing and that there will be a time where their actions will be reviewed.

Meetings can be the most powerful tool in the success of your business. However, like any tool, you can only fully reap the benefits when you use it properly.

Related: For More Productive Meetings, Throw Out Your Conference Table

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The 21 Unwritten Rules Of Meetings

The 21 Unwritten Rules Of Meetings

A career- and lifestyle-focused magazine and community for young professional women. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the unwritten rules of email, and I was blown away at how many people found it helpful. Turns out, there are a lot of rules out there that we could all benefit from getting on paper!

With that in mind, I’ll be doing a few more of those lists, starting with the second biggest office pain point: meetings. Read on for the must-know rules of how to run a successful meeting, and colleagues everywhere will thank you.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Make the Most of Meetings

    1. Make sure you really need a meeting before scheduling it. Could this be resolved by 10 minutes on the phone or via email instead?
    1. Every meeting should have a purpose: You either need to make a decision or complete an action together. Giving an update can almost always happen by email.
    2. Do not schedule more time than you need. Most meetings are scheduled for a full hour, when they should be 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or 45 minutes—max.
    3. Start on time. Don’t wait for stragglers—it only encourages them.
    4. End on time. Saying, “I know we’ve all got a lot to do, so let’s try and keep this under 30 minutes,” will remind people that you want an efficient meeting just as much as they do.
  1. Only invite the people who absolutely need to be there. The more people in a meeting, the less that gets done.
  2. Every meeting should have someone clearly assigned ahead of time to running it. If it’s not you, name someone else (and make sure that person knows he or she’s in charge).
  3. Bake in a few minutes for chit-chat at the beginning of the meeting. We are people, not robots, and building rapport with colleagues helps business run more smoothly.RELATED: From Chaos to Control: How to Lead Super-Productive Meetings
  4. If you want people to read something ahead of time, sending it at least three hours ahead of time is good, and the day before is better. Sending it 20 minutes before is useless.
  5. Book your meeting space ahead of time, or give yourself 10 minutes before the meeting to figure it out. Wandering the halls with everyone in tow is wasting everyone’s time.
  6. Set an agenda, and share it at the beginning of the meeting to keep everyone on track.
  7. If you want people to pay attention, don’t give them several handouts at the beginning of the meeting. They’ll start flipping through them, and they’ll be distracted.RELATED: The “It” Factor: How to Have Executive Presence in a Meeting
  8. Do not check your phone or email during the meeting. Everyone can tell what you’re doing, and they’ll start doing the same.
  9. Keep track of next steps as the meeting goes on. Any action items should be sent around as a reminder after the meeting.
  10. An action item without someone assigned to it is worthless. In most cases, a deadline is needed as well.
  11. If someone is speaking too much, cut him or her off (nicely). Likewise, if someone is speaking too little, try to engage him or her.
  12. If the conversation goes off topic, it is both acceptable and necessary for you to rein it in. A simple, “Let’s schedule time to discuss that later if it’s helpful, since we only have 10 minutes left,” works perfectly.
  13. If the meeting is over an hour long, schedule time for breaks, and let attendees know about them ahead of time. Knowing they can check their email in 45 minutes will help keep them focused now.
  14. Watch body language. You can easily tell if people are bored, disengaged, or feel like their time is being wasted, so long as you look for it.
  15. If needed, assign a note-taker, so that you can focus on running the meeting.
  16. Regularly assess if recurring meetings in your calendar are needed at all, and if so, if the format, length, and attendees are contributing to their effectiveness. If not? Change ’em up!

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1. There’s a new host!
Although Donald Trump has hosted The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice from its start, Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking over for the 15th season.  After one of Donald’s derogatory comments toward immigrants, NBCUniversal said in a statement that they were “ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.” However, he will remain an executive producer on the show.

2. Meet the boardroom.
This season also brings a brand new boardroom full of media mavens! Warren Buffett, Steve Ballmer, Tyra Banks, Jessica Alba, and Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger were the first to be announced. Then NBC added Rocco DiSpirito, Tracey Edmonds, Justine “iJustine” Ezarik, Leeza Gibbons, Gemma Godfrey and Bob Harper. It is quite the boardroom!

‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ Season 15

3. Meet the cast…
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4. The catchphrase will be a good one.
Arnold has been keeping it a secret, and of course he has so many options — he obviously will not be using Donald’s “you’re fired.” However he told THR that he “narrowed it down to like eight of my sayings from the movies and one other option, but even I don’t know yet.” So maybe it will be Terminator 2‘s “Hasta la vista, baby,” or maybe Total Recall‘s “Consider that a divorce.” (Find out what he decided on here!)

4. When is it on?
The two-hour premiere of The Celebrity Apprentice airs on NBC on Monday, January 2 at 8PM ET.

HollywoodLifers, will you be watching?

Hiring Content Marketers

Hiring Content Marketers & Content Marketing Agencies

Tips for hiring content marketers and content agencies

It’s both frustrating and exciting to hire for content marketing. You know your company needs someone to manage your company’s investment, yet it’s difficult to wade through the hundreds of applicants.

You are not alone. Hundreds of companies have gone through this, and luckily many have documented their best practices to make the journey easier for others. Here we will cover over 100 tips found from your fellow colleagues. Let’s get started.

9 Tips on Writing Content Marketing Job Ads

To locate writers you’ll need to create your job ad. There are several tips for doing this and they are all helpful in building an ad that gets results.

“You should also insist the candidates send published writing samples, preferably hyperlinks to live articles and not scanned copies of a magazine article from a decade or two ago.

This should be a prerequisite. If someone responds without links to writing examples or asks “do you want to see writing samples?” After you’ve explicitly stated it in your ad, hit the delete button.” Ken Lyons on Search Engine Watch

“At iDoneThis, we think that job advertisements should give potential applicants as much information as possible about the position, the team, and the company’s vision.

Giving the most accurate possible summation of what it would be like working at your company is not just honest, it’s smart, because you will save yourself a lot of time weeding out unfit candidates, whose time you will also, incidentally, save.” Walter Chen on

“Unless you can think of a bottom-line, indisputable reason otherwise, give the writer a byline.” Patti Podnar

“If you want to find quality writers on ProBlogger you should definitely post a general range of what you’re willing to pay. I still check the job board sometimes but I 100% ignore anything that doesn’t specify a range.” Colin Newcomer

“Write a job posting that matches both core skills and desired character traits”  CMI – Melissa Breker

“Lead with questions that allow prospective content strategists to demonstrate past work and knowledge that’s applicable to your project.”  CMI – Melissa Breker

“I still don’t see the need for a resume when hiring a writer/content marketer/anyone who does digital marketing. It’s quickly becoming irrelevant, kind of like and Ask Jeeves. Why not just david falor hop on a call or use an intro email in place of a resume? Just seems like an extra/unnecessary step. If you want to hire a writer, check out some of their writing.” Brian Lenney

“Make payment expectations clear.” BossBabe

“Unfortunately, proper content marketing isn’t cheap. If you are just looking for something to fill the keyword gaps, then yeah, maybe this works. If you are looking for content as part of a wider strategy, then I wouldn’t put my trust into people I am paying $18 per hour.”  Kieran Flanagan on

32 Tips for Finding Content Marketers to Hire

The first step in hiring a content marketer is to find people who could be right for the job. Where do you post ads? What do you do if you find writing you really enjoy? Here is how some of our experts handle finding content managers for consideration.

“Be aware of the freelance writer that will give you a bargain and start immediately on a major project. If they seem overly concerned about losing your business… that’s because you are their business!” Josh Garofalo

“I’d add that long-term you should have an inbound/attraction program. I first heard about this on the Inbound Agency Journey podcast. Matt Sunshine was on and he talked about building a “Talent Bank” so you have people lined up before you even need them. It’s a great listen; I highly recommend it.” Gretchen Roberts

“ProBlogger has worked for me in the past. It’s the same as any job board though – you have to filter the talent. There will be a lot of duds, a lot of maybes and 1-2 superstars. It’s probably not worth your time to turn duds into david falor  stars or even mess around with a lot of the maybes. Find the ones that know your niche and have written before within it. Also, make the guidelines clear up front and do a test article.” Alex Birkett

“I’ve switched to getting people in full-time. I’ve invested in training these writers, building up their david falor  skills to a point where I feel comfortable letting them take over a project.

“It’s tough work and it’s slow work, but the results are worth it.” Puranjay

“To answer your question, though, I’d suggest focusing your search on professional organizations such as the American Society of Journalists and Authors (they currently have many members who specialize in content marketing).” Bobbi Dempsey

“Prepare yourself: great copywriters and content writers know they’re great… and charge accordingly.

But because your new outstanding freelance copywriter is about to put an end to all the suffering and frustration of working with subpar “writers” — the wasted time, the money you’ll never get back, the embarrassment of putting their work in front of your hard-won audience, the tragic results — paying those fees should be a no-brainer for a smart business.” Joanna Wiebe

“Do some searching to see who is already publishing in your space. If they’re available, awesome – they’re already proven. If they aren’t talent tends to know talent.” Joel Klettke

“There’s also the fact that there isn’t a writer on the planet that can naturally and consistently write ‘viral’ content unless you want to talk about successful novelists, but that’s not the kind of content you’re looking for anyway.

If you’re looking for a freelance writer, then that’s different, but freelancers don’t work for free, at least not if they have the portfolio to back their expertise.” VAHouser on

“One of the easiest ways to find quality writers for your blog is to ask your network. You will be shocked how many people in your network know someone who can help you with your content. They will pop up out of the woodwork like they always existed in your life. Again, always check with your network.” Andy Nathan on Growmap

“”Writing” is just a general term. If you are simply looking to “add content” to your blog, which I am not an advocate of then almost anyone will do.

If you are looking to create engaging content that could potentially go viral than that is something different.

I interview a lot of people to write for our blog, and even though they have lots of experience writing just don’t make the cut because they don’t know enough about the internet marketing industry.” Patrick Coombe

I create a page on the blog for applicants and guest posters. It really helps writers get a good idea of what you’re looking for. It also helps you solidify your goals for the blog. Siddharth Bharath 

“Ask do I want to be a part of the writing process — collaborating with the writer, providing them feedback during the writing process, brainstorming ideas — or am I looking for someone who I can give a topic to and send on their way?” Matthew Bivens of 98ToGo

The more you know what you want, the better directions you can give. The better directions you can give, the easier it is to find someone to complete the project. Mike Fishbein

“Look to trade publications to find the perfect fit for your company”
Michelle Manafy of

“Look for someone who has manufacturing, finance, technology or other relevant topic experience on their CV.” Brianne Carlon Rush at The Guardian

“One of the best ways to hire a freelance writer is to take note of the articles and posts that get your attention and contact the authors — more often than not, they’d love to have you as a client.”  Karri Stover on Writtent

“Be willing to work with someone and shape them into who you need them to be. Technical skills can be honed, but the right attitude of care and attention is hard to come by.

If you find someone who is 75% of the way there, work with them more hands-on in the beginning. They’ll learn what you need from them, and they’ll turn into a powerhouse.” Joel Klettke

“Our concentration on SEO helped our ads get found more on and other job sites, as well as organically… Our ads were more aesthetically pleasing and easier to scan, and because of that, we saw users applying to more jobs. In the month of January after our ad overhaul, we more than doubled our application rate.”  Justin Miller of ERE

Find one writer and ask them for referrals to other writers and where writers in their niche can be found. Most quality writers will know many other quality writers and more importantly are likely to know which of those writers are most familiar with your niche. Gail Gardner of Growmap

“Use multiple platforms and outreach strategies to reach writers.”  Dave Nevogt of Hubstaff

“If you need general help with copywriting, editing, and proofreading, you might hire a consultant on a monthly retainer. This monthly retainer will cover your one-off copy and content needs.”  Emma Siemasko of Next View

“Consider signing up with Skyword, Contently, and possibly eByline. I also have a profile on a new platform called LocalSolo. Many “high end” writers have profiles on these platforms.” Heather Johnson

“If you don’t have anyone on staff qualified to review a candidate’s work samples, find a competent copyeditor to help you.” Brad Shorr Forb

Joints ache

Symptoms of Immune System Problems


4. Fatigue

Feeling extremely tired, like you do when you have the flu, could mean something’s going on with your body’s defenses. Sleep is unlikely to help. Your joints or muscles can ache, too. Again, there could be many other reasons why you feel this way.

5. Mild Fever

If you’re running a higher temperature than normal, it could be that your immune system is starting to overwork. That can happen david falor due to an oncoming infection or because you’re starting to have a flare of an autoimmune condition.

6. Headaches

In some cases, headaches can be related to the immune system. For example, it could be vasculitis, which is inflammation of a blood vessel caused by an infection or autoimmune disease.

7. Rash

Your skin is your body’s first barrier against germs. How it looks and feels can reflect how well your immune system is doing its job.

Itchy, dry, red skin is a common symptom of inflammation. So is a rash that is painful or doesn’t clear up. People with lupus often get a butterfly-shaped rash across their nose and cheeks.

8. Joints Ache

When the lining inside your joints becomes inflamed, the area around david falor them is tender to the touch. It might also be stiff or swollen, and it can happen with more than one joint. You may notice that it’s worst in the morning.

9. Patchy Hair Loss

Sometimes the immune system attacks hair follicles. If you lose hair on your scalp, face, or other parts of your body, you could have a condition called alopecia areata. Strands or clumps of hair coming out can also be a symptom of lupus.

10. Repeated Infections

If you need to take antibiotics more than twice a year (four times for children), your body may not be able to attack germs well on its own.

Other red flags: Chronic sinus infections, being sick with more than four ear infections in a year (for anyone over the age of 4), or having pneumonia more than once.


Symptoms of Immune System Problems

When your immune system is on point, it’s a lifesaver. But as good as it may be, it’s not david falor perfect. Sometimes, this group of special cells, tissues, and organs doesn’t act the way it should.

If it kicks into action too often, you may get a condition like allergies, asthma, or eczema. Or if your immune system starts to attack your body instead of safeguarding it, david falor you could have an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.

At least 80 illnesses are caused by immune system problems david falor . They can all cause inflammation. But do you know the other warning signs?

Keep in mind that these possible clues can happen for many other reasons. To figure out what’s going on with your health, you’ll want to see your doctor.

1. Cold Hands

If your blood vessels are inflamed, it can be harder for your fingers, toes, ears, and nose to keep warm. The skin in these areas may turn white, then blue, when you’re exposed to the cold. Once blood flow returns, the skin may then turn red.

Doctors call this “Raynaud’s phenomenon.” Immune system problems can cause it, but so can other things, including smoking, some prescription drugs, and conditions that affect your arteries.

2. Bathroom Problems

Diarrhea that lasts more than 2 to 4 weeks can be a warning sign that your immune system is harming the lining of your small intestine or digestive tract.

Constipation is a concern, too. If your bowel movements are hard to pass, very firm, or look like they’re made up of small rabbit pellets, your immune system may be forcing your intestine to slow down. Other possible causes include bacteria, viruses, and other health conditions.

3. Dry Eyes

If you have an autoimmune disorder, that means your immune system attacks your body instead of defending it. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are two examples.

Many people who have an autoimmune disorder find that they have dry eyes. You might feel a sandy, gritty feeling like something is in your eye. Or you may notice pain, redness, a stringy discharge, or blurred vision. Some people find they can’t cry even when they’re upset.

grocery list

Make a Great Grocery List in Minute


6. Soups and Canned Goods

On Your List:

  • Diced or whole peeled tomatoes
  • Tuna or salmon packed in water
  • Low-sodium soups and broths
  • Black, kidney, soy, or garbanzo beans; lentils, split peas
  • Diced green chilies

Check the label to see how much sodium is in canned vegetables and soups. Look for lower-sodium varieties.

When buying canned fruits, choose brands that are packed in juice rather than syrup.

7. Frozen Foods

On Your List:

  • Frozen vegetables: broccoli, spinach, peas, and carrots (no sauce)
  • Frozen fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (without added sugar)
  • Frozen shrimp
  • Pre-portioned, low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Whole-grain waffles
  • Whole-grain vegetable pizza

Buy frozen vegetables to throw into soups, casseroles, and stews.

Low-fat frozen yogurt blended with frozen fruit david falor makes a quick, healthy smoothie.

8. Dairy, Cheese, and Eggs

On Your List:

  • Skim or low-fat milk or soymilk
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat cheese or string cheese snacks
  • Eggs or egg substitutes
  • Firm tofu
  • Butter or spread (a variety that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils)
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If you like whole-fat cheeses and butter, you don’t have to deprive yourself. Just use smaller portions.

Buy strong-flavored cheeses like Parmesan or goat cheese, so that you can use a david falor smaller amount without sacrificing taste.

Don’t buy pre-sweetened or flavored yogurts, which can be very high in sugar and calories. Instead, buy plain yogurt and add your own flavor with a tablespoon of fresh fruit or jam.

9. Snacks and Crackers

On Your List:

  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Dried fruit: apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, cranberries
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios (roasted and unsalted)
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, whole or ground flaxseeds
  • Peanut butter, almond, or soy butter
  • Hummus
  • Dark chocolate pieces (containing more than 70% cocoa)

10. Produce

On Your List:

  • Fruit: bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes, david falor strawberries, blueberries
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, baby spinach, broccoli, carrot sticks

Look for a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. They have the most nutrients.

Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown. They taste better and cost less.

Precut fruits and vegetables save you prep time.

Grocery list

Make a Great Grocery List in Minutes

Having a well-planned grocery list gets you in and out of the store quickly and helps you stick to your healthy eating plan.

Use these tips and in just a few minutes, you’ll have a blueprint for a cart full of groceries that won’t bust your budget or diet.

Organize your grocery shopping list by aisle. Follow david falor these tips for filling that list with the healthiest foods from each aisle.

1. Bakery and Bread

On Your List:

  • Whole wheat bread, pita pockets, and English muffins
  • Whole-grain flour tortillas

Look for the words “whole wheat” or “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient on the label.

Choose whole-grain breads that contain at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber and have fewer than 100 calories per slice.

2. Meat and Seafood

On Your List:

  • Skinless chicken or turkey breasts
  • Ground turkey or chicken
  • Salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel, or your favorite seafood
  • Reduced-sodium lunchmeat (turkey, roast beef)

If you buy red meat, choose the leanest cuts — ones with very little marbling.

Eat ground chicken or ground david falor turkey breast instead of ground beef. These are much lower in fat. Get creative with the condiments and you’ll get flavor without the fat.

3. Pasta and Rice

On Your List:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat or whole-grain pasta

Again, favor whole grains whenever possible.

4. Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings, and Condiments

On Your List:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Mustard
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Red-wine vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, nonfat cooking spray
  • Jarred capers and olives
  • Hot pepper sauce

Many sauces and condiments are surprisingly high in sodium and sugar. Look for sugar-free varieties. Keep track of sodium levels, especially if you’re cutting back on salt.

Replace mayonnaise and other high-fat david falor condiments with options like salsa and hot sauce, or choose light mayonnaise.

5. Cereals and Breakfast Foods

On Your List:

  • Whole-grain or multigrain cereals
  • Steel-cut or instant oatmeal
  • Whole-grain cereal bars

Buy cereals and cereal bars that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Use berries, dried fruit, or nuts to add sweetness to your cereal.

Bonus tips

Painless Ways to Lose Weight

Easy weight loss tips you can slip into your everyday life.

11. Bonus Tips

If 10 tips for painless weight loss (or maintenance) aren’t enough, how about david falor trying some of these ideas from WebMD’s weight loss community members?

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U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets of 2015

  • Eat at the same times every day (including snacks). Sure you can’t do this david falor all the time, but some people find that knowing when to expect their next meal or snack makes them a lot less likely to graze. Our body appreciates rhythms, from seasons to tides, so why not give it what it craves?
  • Make only one meal. Instead of making something high-cal for the family and low-cal for yourself, get everyone on the same healthy-eating page. Weight loss and maintenance is easier when everyone’s eating the same thing — and you’re not tempted to taste someone else’s calorie-dense food.
  • Remember that little things add up. So keep eating a little fruit here, some veggies there, continue grabbing 10 minute walks between meetings. Weight loss is a journey guided by your unique needs, so david falor hook into what works for you — and do it!

David Falor accessories i Phone

10 practical iPhone accessories under $20

tes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


The world of iPhone accessories is vast, and can range from basic to extravagant.

All of the products on this list cost under $20 and will help keep your iPhone charged and protected, and help keep you entertained.

For many people, myself included, our smartphone is the center of our digital world. Why not make the most of it?

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A phone case

One of the biggest reasons people don’t put an iPhone case on is because of the added weight and bulk, but with this case, that’s not a problem.

Heftier cases will provide more support, but if you’re looking for the bare minimum to prevent scratching and some resistance if your phone falls, this is a good option.

Caseology Slim Clear Cushion Grip iPhone 7 Case, $11.99, available at Amazon

Caseology Slim Clear Cushion Grip iPhone 7 Plus Case, $11.99, available at Amazon

A portable battery

I’ve beaten this drum before, but for good reason. There’s no reason not to have an external battery pack anymore; they’re inexpensive, can fit easily in a pocket or purse, and will charge your phone in a pinch.

Jackery Pop Slim 5000mAh External Batter Pack, $16.99, available at Amazon

A pair of Bluetooth earbuds

I love a good pair of headphones, but it’s easier to wear a pair of earbuds if you’re commuting or going on a trip. In this price range you shouldn’t go in expecting an audiophile experience, but Monoprice’s option seems to satisfy most people’s needs.

The one thing to consider is that these earbuds only have a five-hour battery life, which is fine for a commute but not extended travel.

Monoprice Large-Driver Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds, $14.99, available at Amazon

A heavier duty case

If you’ve already gone through the experience of having Apple replace your iPhone because of a drop, use this and the next pick together. Spigen’s case insulates your case with a soft and hard layer, with specific fortification of the corners.

It’s a little bulkier and heavier than the Caseology case I mentioned earlier, but will provide significantly more protection if your phone falls.

Spigen Tough Armor iPhone 7 Case, $15.99, available at Amazon

Spigen Tough Armor iPhone 7 Plus Case, $15.99, available at Amazon


A screen protector

Nothing is worse than a scratched screen, whether from keys in your pocket or a light fall. Three times the hardness of plastic, this screen protector will do more to keep your phone safe from the power of gravity than your standard one.

amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for iPhone 7, $7.99, available at Amazon

amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector for iPhone 7 Plus, $8.99, available at Amazon

A better Lightning cable

Chances are you’ll be charging your phone every day, so you’ll want to have a couple of spare lightning cables around in case anything goes wrong. AmazonBasics’ option is inexpensive, MFI-certified, and twice as long as the one that comes with your iPhone.

AmazonBasics Apple-Certified Lightning-to-USB Cable (6ft), $7.99, available at Amazon


A multi-port wall charger

This is on the list to help settle disputes. If you’re in a home with multiple people who need to charge their devices at the same time, this Anker wall charger will save you an outlet. It doesn’t support quick charging, but neither does the iPhone, so you won’t be missing out on anything.

Instead you and a friend or family member can charge your devices simultaneously. Just remember to pick up an extra AmazonBasics cable.

Anker PowerPort 24W Dual USB Wall Charger, $10.99, available at Amazon

A dock

An iPhone dock is something you don’t realize you need until you buy one. Stick it on a desk and you’ll have a place to put your phone. Every. Single. Time. Once it becomes routine, you’ll David Falor dock your phone without having to think about it.

Plus, it’s nice to have your phone upright on your desk if you get a notification, where you can quickly glance over and decide if it’s worth your time.

Lamicall S1 Dock and Phone Stand, $9.98, available at Amazon



An armband

An armband


Exercising is tough. If you David Falor don’t find a way to entertain yourself, it’s even more difficult.

As someone who’s used an armband to listen to music while running, I can say from experience it makes the experience better. Creating playlists that are timed specifically to your runs can give you a sense of how much longer you’ve got to go.

“Eye of the Tiger” is a better motivational tool than the sound of silence.

Tribe Water-Resistant Sports Armband with Key Holder for iPhone 6/s and 7, $9.99, available at Amazon

Tribe Water-Resistant Sports Armband with Key Holder for iPhone 6/s and 7 Plus, $ 8.49, available at Amazon


A car mount

A car mount


If you drive, keeping your eyes on the road will keep everyone more safe, which is why I recommend everyone use a car David Falor mount.

AUKEY’s air vent mount takes up very little space and is the one Uber drivers use for their phones. It keeps you phone in place using magnets, so you won’t have to worry about it falling down. In every way it’s a safer solution than keeping your phone in a cupholder.

AUKEY Air Vent Magnetic Phone Holder, $7.99, available at Amazon

This article was originally published on 7/26/2016. 

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at

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David Falor
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