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Communication Skills for Effective Leadership

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Communication Skills for Effective Leadership
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Managers at different levels of the organization face various challenges. But even if you have just taken over a leadership position, are an executive director or somewhere in between, the main leadership skill you need to master is COMMUNICATION. It is that basic skill that you develop without interruption, regardless of the role you have now, the one you aspire to or the industry in which you work. In addition, the way you approach Communication and what you need to value will change as you evolve in the organization and you will have to face more complex challenges: building trust, transmitting vision and attracting talent with you.

Effective communication and effective leadership are closely linked. Leaders need to be qualified communicators in all their relationships within the company, with communities and groups, and sometimes globally.

Think clearly, be able to express ideas and share information with various audiences. Learn to manage the rapid flow of information within the organization and among customers, partners, and other influencers.

Home & Kitchen

The Best Wake Up Lights in 2021

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best Wake Up Lights 2021

Are you a grump in the morning? Try a mood-altering, gentle wake up light

 

Banish beeping alarms and wake up as nature intended with our pick of the best wake up lights

The best wake-up light won’t just replace your alarm clock, but it’ll ensure you have a slower, gentler start to your day.

Dragging yourself out of bed is difficult at any time of the year. It’s definitely not aided by a startling, beeping alarm that can break the sleep cycle at the point at which your body is least ready for it.

Wake-up lights work to replicate the sunrise that would have naturally woken our ancestors. Still, year-round, it cancels out the circadian rhythm-confusing lack of morning light in winter. It carefully coaxes you into wakefulness using light and sound.

Take a look at our pick of the best and find a model that suits your sleep style (as well as your aesthetic). For more tech buys for your home, head to our technology hub page.

What is the best wake-up light?

Our favorite is the all-singing, all-dancing Lumie Bodyclock 250. Actually, it neither sings nor dances, but it is a highly customizable wake-up clock. It has a speed-controlled light with a range of 15 to 90 minutes (or anyone who really struggles to wake up).

Oh, and there’s a radio and noise options. Read down for more…

THE BEST WAKE UP LIGHTS

1. Lumie Bodyclock 250

Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Wake-Up Light, Alarm Clock with FM Radio and Extra Audio Options

Best wake-up light: lights, sounds, ready for action.

This is our pick of the best wake up light you can buy

 

Specifications

Best for: Customisation

Power type: Mains with back-up battery

Lux: 250

Reasons to buy

  • Adjustable sunrise/sunset time
  • Doubles as a bedside light

Reasons to avoid

  • Not as good-looking

Lumie are the inventors of the original wake-up light, and to our judgment, their Bodyclock is still the best. The Bodyclock Active is a certified medical device recommended by sad.org.uk.

It wakes you with a gradually brightening light whose speed you can control within a range of 15 to 90 minutes. It’s perfect for the mornings when you really need to get going and those when you can afford a little more lie-in time.

Doubling as a bedside light and nightlight, it has many features. It has a snooze function, dimmable display, FM radio, and wake-up noise options, including white noise, waves, birdsong, and a rooster call. For its seemingly endless customization options, it’s our top choice.

2. Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light

Philips SmartSleep Wake up Light Colored Sunrise and Sunset Simulation 5 Natural Sounds FM Radio Reading Lamp Tap Snooze HF352060

Best wake up light: choose nature or natter with this clock radio meets wake-up light

 

Specifications

Best for: Gentle wake-up

Power type: Mains

Lux: 300

Reasons to buy

  • Variety of natural sounds
  • Intuitive dimming display

Reasons to avoid

  • Cannot change bulb
  • The clock light doesn’t dim

A very close second to the Lumie Bodyclock Active is the Philips SmartSleep Wake Up Light.

It’s another highly recommended and reliable option. The added distinction of looking really good on the bedside table thanks to its sleek, almost seamless design.

It’s clinically proven to make getting up less of a chore with light settings, plus a bank of seven natural sounds and radio function. Whether you prefer birdsong or your local station to get you out of bed in the morning, you’re all set.

In our opinion, this is the best wake-up light for a gentle wake-up.

3. Withings Aura Connected Alarm Clock with Wake-Up Light & Sound System

Withings Aura Connected Alarm Clock with Wake-Up Light & Sound System

Best Amazon wake up light: use sleep cycle analysis and room environment tracking to enhance sleeping habits

 

Specifications

Best for: Tracking your sleep and adjusting your environment accordingly

Power type: Mains

Lux: 300

Reasons to buy

  • Sleep enhancement backed up                  by science
  • Go to sleep and wake up                            functions

Reasons to avoid

  • Can be arduous to set up

Withings Aura Sistema Smart Sleep effectively combines a speaker, bedside lamp, and alarm clock. It also has sleep cycle analysis and room environment tracking to optimize sleep.

Its combination of scientifically designed blue light and music programs is intended to ensure users wake up energized during the best point of their sleep cycle.

In addition to helping users wake up, the Withings Aura is also designed to aid the process of falling asleep. With sleep-inducing programs and access to an unlimited choice of music with Spotify.

The best wake-up light for sleep analysis, we think.

4. Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500

Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500 - Aromatherapy Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock by Lumie

Best wake up light with aromatherapy: a SAD wake-up lamp with a built-in aromatherapy feature

 

Specifications

Best for: Immersive sleep experience

Power type: Mains

Lux: N/A

Reasons to buy

  • Aromatherapy feature

Reasons to avoid

  • No radio option

A unique take on the traditional Lumie wake-up light, the Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 offers an aromatherapy option in addition to the basic features.

Capable of taking up to two diffusers, it’s now possible to wake up to a scent of your choice, in addition to a light and sound setting that suits. The best wake-up light for those who want an immersive sleep experience…

5. Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light

Philips SmartSleep HF350060 Wake Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock with Sunrise Simulation

Best wake up light and alarm clock: combines the bedside lamp and alarm clock for the best of both worlds

 

Specifications

Best for: Simple design

Power type: Mains

Lux: 200


Reasons to buy

  • Stylish minimal design
  • Adjustable for evening and morning

Reasons to avoid

  • Some found the alarm a little grating

If you’re undecided about light alarm clocks, not fussed about nature sounds, and just want a simple model that builds on a standard sound alarm, the Philips HF3500/60 is the best wake-up light for you.

It’s a handsome stand-in for a bedside light and alarm clock. Its light settings are ample and varied, with ten different light intensities to choose from and adjustable brightness for the time display.

However, there’s just one alarm setting, so if you prefer to be gently enticed into wakefulness with birdsong, it may not be for you.

One final downside that some reviewers have flagged up is that the snooze feature can be quite tricky to activate. However, if it saves us from ourselves, we suppose, then all the better…

6. Philips Hue Go White and Color Portable Smart Light Table Lamp

Best portable wake up light: a portable bedside lamp that encourages better sleep

Specifications

Best for: Portability

Power type: Battery powered by charged by mains

Lux: 520

Reasons to buy

  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Wide range of colors

Reasons to avoid

  • Low brightness

What we love most about the Philips Hue Go light is its portability. You can easily pick it up and use it to guide you around in the dark.

This way you don’t have to turn on any powerful lights that will blast your eyes at five in the morning and properly get you out of deep sleep.

The Philips Hue Go is designed to slowly dim itself until it turns off, you can change this settings from your phone. Still, you can customize this in 15-minute intervals, with 60 minutes being the longest program.

You can obviously also leave it on indefinitely. You can use the Philips Hue Go app to customize your bedtime or morning routine, and you sync the light with other lights around your home.

The only downside is as it’s not voice-activated. You have to either use your phone to turn it off, which could interrupt your almost sleep or go old school and actually have to turn the light off manually.

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Garden & Outdoors

These patio heaters will warm up spring evenings – get yours before they go

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best patio heater

Patio heaters are the ultimate buy at this time of year for homeowners looking for an excuse to prolong evenings al fresco. 

There’s no denying that a patio heater is a stylish garden staple, with the ability to transform an outdoor space into a year-round escape. Plus, with the possibility of tighter restrictions creeping in, patio heater searches are going through the roof, so you’re going to want to bag yours ASAP. 

There’s so much to choose from, from the traditional chiminea to wall-fixed heaters and freestanding electrical models, so we thought we’d save you some time and do the legwork for you.

So, have a gander of the buys below – and check out our round-up of the best patio heater 2021 for more best buy picks. 

Sunrite by Mr. Heater Single Tank Top Heater

Check it out on Amazon

This heater has over 1000 reviews and is ranking super high on Amazon. Temperature regulation is simple with the multi-output valve. Plus, it comes with a convenient piezo ignition built right into the rotation of the knob for one-handed ignition.

A versatile buy, you can permanently mount this heater to the wall or the floor with included mounting brackets and fasteners. Safe and durable.

Dr. Infrared Heater DR-978 Dual Heating Hybrid Space Heater, 1500W with remote

This heater has a super high output for a super low cost.

The large blower pushes out larger air volume without making much noise. Plus, there are no exposed heating elements, making this patio heater perfect for a home with pets and kids.

The thermostat regulates the heater and cycles on and off to maintain the set temperature—a 12-hour timer.

TRUSTECH Patio Heater

This is the ultimate home gadget – equipped with a remote control. A wall-mounted heater, this bit of kit is perfect for an open area – suitable indoors and out. It’s quick to heat up (one second).

The internal carbon fiber heating tube and energy conversion efficiency mean you will save a lot of electricity, too! Three heating modes and a 12-hour timer.

BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Fire Pit

We love a classic chiminea because they add some traditional style to your garden space.

This model has a round wire mesh screening designed to enable 360 visibility fire at chiminea and a sliding door and ashtray for ease of use.

The fire cage area has a generous capacity, measuring 22-inch diameter by 20 inches high.

RMYHOME Infrared Freestanding Patio Heater

A sleek model, this freestanding patio heater can be adjusted to your ideal height and is made from stainless steel. You don’t need to worry about rust or corrosion.

The heating range is 10-15 feet, and it only takes a few seconds to heat this space to the temperature you need. Not only is this model energy-efficient, but it’s also weather and dustproof with a safe design that has power-off protection.

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Home & Kitchen

Smart bedroom gadgets: 7 best smart tech buys to help you sleep better

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best smart bedroom

Looking for smart bedroom gadgets? Filling your home with some of the best smart home techs can make your day-to-day routine easier and more efficient.

Still, while there are lots of smart tech options for the living room, kitchen, and general home, we don’t often think about how smart home tech can enhance the bedroom.

From smart alarm clocks to sleep trackers, there are many smart home tools designed to help you climb into bed at night, monitor your sleep, and then wake up in the morning.

What on earth, other than lighting, can be usefully smart in a bedroom? Well, there are all sorts of gadgets that will make life easier… and also help you sleep better, too.

We’ve picked out 8 smart bedroom gadgets we think can be genuinely useful, rather than just gimmicky.

1. Best smart alarm clock: Amazon Echo Spot

Echo Dot (3rd Gen) bundle with Amazon Smart Plug

When it comes to our pick of the best smart bedroom gadgets, first up is an alarm clock.

The Amazon Echo Spot isn’t your old-fashioned alarm clock but one of the most recent additions to the Amazon Echo speaker lineup. It’ll sit flawlessly on your bedside table, ready to wake you up in the morning. But what makes it so special?

Voice activation

Complete with voice activation, it’s now possible to use your voice to ask Alexa to set your alarms in the morning (see our Amazon Alexa review for more info) – and perhaps more importantly, snoozing the alarm too.

Handy display screen

The Amazon Echo dot also offers a bright, clear 2.5-inch display that gives you the time as well as handy messages and the weather for today. The benefit of this? You can plan your outfit and journey to work appropriately. 

Multi-functional

In addition to fulfilling the role of a more traditional alarm clock, this model also allows users to play music or audiobooks while going to sleep, plus it has all of the other Amazon Alexa functionality of other smart speakers too.

You could order a pizza using your voice directly from your bed with the Domino’s app, or you could connect this up, so it can control other smart gadgets around your home.

That means if you have Philips Hue lighting in your bedroom, you can easily snuggle up in bed and use your voice to turn them off when you’re ready to get to sleep.

A choice of 100 different alarms

You can’t currently use music to wake up in the morning with the Echo Spot – something we hope Amazon will sort in the future – but you can set up to 100 different alarms, so it’s nice and easy to have this set-up on your bedside to wake you at different times on the weekend to your average workday.

To compare all your options, browse our pick of the best alarm clocks currently available. Then, browse the rest of the Amazon Echo range on Amazon.

2. Best smart lightbulb kit: Philips Hue Starter Kit

Philips Hue 2-Pack Premium Smart Light Starter Kit, 16 million colors, for most lamps & overhead lights

Smart lightbulbs are perfect for *ahem* setting the mood in the bedroom, and, in our opinion, it doesn’t get better than the Philips Hue Starter Kit. 

Adjust warmth and brightness to suit your mood

The two white bulbs – which come as part of the starter kit – can be set to any warmth level and any brightness between ‘hygge’ and ‘interrogation room’ (slightly less appealing) for maximum versatility. At the same time, the hub allows you to connect and customize a further 48 lights.

Smart connectivity

As with all Philips Hue products, the app shines just as brightly as the bulbs, letting you set your lights to do things like turn on when you step through the door after work. 

Smart system compatibility

It is compatible with several voice assistants, including Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Nest, and many more.

3. Best bedroom fan: Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02 Wi-Fi Enabled Air Purifier

Sleeping at night in the boiling heat is unbearable for most people, which is why we’d recommend a fan as another of our top smart bedroom gadgets. Don’t just buy any fan, though – this Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link connects to your phone, so you can control it without having to leave your bed.

Smart connectivity

Thanks to smart connectivity, it’s possible to turn your fan on via your smartphone and arrive at a perfectly chilled home. The perfect remedy to a sticky commute, we think.

Heat and cool your room

This model can also be used to heat up your room during the cold season, so you don’t have to worry about 

Air purifier

Perhaps the best feature of this product, though, is that it’s also an air purifier, and it will intelligently remove 99.97 percent of allergens and pollutants in your home’s air.

That means if you have hay-fever or asthma, you can monitor the air quality and be sure there’s a comfortable environment before you get home.

4. Best smart scales: Withings Body scale

Withings Body+ - Smart Body Composition Wi-Fi Digital Scale with smartphone app

While you may not need smart scales to monitor your weight, they can help you to track your overall health and can make the whole process of weigh-in day a little easier. This is why they’re another of our top smart bedroom tech ideas.

Our top pick is the Withings Body Scale, here’s why:

Connect to Withings Health Mate

This handy smart scale cleverly connects to the Withings Health Mate app, which stores your weight and other data, making tracking progress easier and more efficient. 

Multiple users

It’s even possible to introduce your whole family to the scales, as this smart scale is equipped to work out who is standing on them each time, plus the little display will then show you your weight, the trend of your weight (whether it’s gone up or down) as well as your BMI (and then it’ll show what the weather will be like today).

Affordability

You can buy more expensive scales in the Withings range and other choices from Fitbit and Garmin. Still, we don’t think the extra features are particularly useful enough to get, so we’d recommend sticking with the Withings Body.

5. Best smart bedside table: Brightech Owen Side Table

Brightech Owen - End Table with Lamp for Living Rooms, Wireless Charging Station & USB Ports Built in - Wood Nightstand : Side Table & LED Reading Light Attached for Bedrooms - Mid Century Modern

If you have any gadgets that charge wirelessly, you should consider picking up an Brightech Owen Bedside Table. It will help you limit the number of wires scattered over your bedside at night. Here’s everything you need to know about it:

Qi wireless charging tech

Phones such as the iPhone 12, iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S21, and many more come with built-in compatible Qi wireless charging tech, meaning you can just place your phone down on the plus symbol on the top of the table. It’ll start pumping up the battery without you having to plug it in.

If your phone doesn’t support Qi, some major models have wireless charging cases that you can use.

Attractive solution

Plus, it’s an attractive-looking bedside table that offers lots of space and is sure to fit in with your décor if you have other wooden furniture.

Factors worth considering

The technology isn’t particularly quick yet, but when you’re charging overnight, and you don’t have to physically plug your phone into a cable, it feels like you’re living in the future.

6. Best sleep tracker: Withings Sleep

Withings Sleep - Sleep Tracking Pad Under The Mattress with Sleep Cycle Analysis

If you own a fitness tracker or smartwatch, you can usually use these devices to track the quality of your sleep. 

But, if you don’t want an annoying gadget strapped to your wrist while you toss and turn, you can always opt for a different type of sleep tracker. Perfect for those interested in optimizing sleep, it’s another of our top smart bedroom tech ideas: Withings Sleep. Here’s everything you need to know about it:

Uninterrupted sleep tracking

Designed with a long thin pad that plugs into the wall for power and then slides underneath your mattress where you’d normally place your chest at night, this sleep tracker will monitor you throughout the night without disturbing your sleep.

As long as you sleep on top of it, the Nokia Sleep will be able to track your night’s quality, including your heart rate throughout, when you’ve been in different levels of sleep (like REM or deep sleep), as well as how much you’ve been snoring.

Smart connectivity

All of that data is then pinged through Wi-Fi to your phone, and you’ll then be able to break down your night’s sleep within the Withings Health Mate app that’s available for Android and iOS phones.

It only works for one person in your bed, but being able to track your stats without an annoying fitness tracker on your wrist is a big benefit for some.

7. Best smart baby monitor: Arlo Baby Monitor

Arlo Baby Monitor | Smart Wi-Fi Baby Camera with Table:Wall Stand

An essential for parents, or parents to be, the Arlo Baby Monitor is the best smart baby monitor currently available. Here’s everything you need to know about it: 

Get notifications straight to your smartphone

When shopping for a baby monitor, safety is paramount. A step-up from simply being able to see or hear your baby, this model sends notifications directly to your smartphone if it registers motion or changes in sound or temperature.

Night mode

Thanks to handy, built-in, near-invisible infrared LEDs, you can see your baby clearly in the dark, meaning you won’t have to worry about poor picture quality as soon as the sun goes down.

Additional features

In addition to the standard features described above, this model also offers a multi-colored night light option, a music player, temperature display, humidity display, and VOC air sensors.

All of which can help soothe you downstairs, and some of which will soothe your little one back to sleep.

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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