Characteristics of Leisure

In "Motivational Foundations of Leisure" by Seppo E. Iso-Ahola and "Pathways to Meaning-Making Through Leisure-Like Pursuits in Global Contexts" by Yoshitaka Iwasaki, both authors are grappling with distinguishing leisure from other aspects of human life. To this end, they are trying to describe the basic characteristics that identify something as leisure as opposed to something not being leisure. However, the big problem for both of them is the elusive definition of "what is leisure," since it is difficult to describe its characteristics if it hard to distinguish leisure from what is not leisure. This problem is made even more difficult in modern society, in that there is something of a continuum between leisure and non-leisure, with many activities seeming like a mix of the two.

For example, a part-time entrepreneur who sets up a party-plan business is engaging in an economic activity, but it is also fun for her (usually the entrepreneur is a woman), and she might see organizing sales parties as a side venture To something she considers work. So maybe this business starts out as a leisure activity, but as she makes more and more money, she may spend more and more time putting on parties to build a serious business. Thus, at some point, holding these fun parties may cease to be a leisure activity – but exactly when this occurs can be hard to tell.

This same problem of distinguishing leisure and not-leisure confronts both Iso-Ahola and Iwasaki in trying to discuss the characteristics of leisure, in that many of these characteristics are use to describe leisure can be true of non-leisure activities, commonly considered work. Iwasaki tries to get around this problem by calling things that he characterizes as aspects of leisure as "leisure-like" activities, and by the same token, one might character what people normally call work as "work-like" activities, but this is Really more of a semantic sleight of hand. Calling something "leisure-like" – or "work-like" for that matter – purely provides a nomenclature that is fuzzier to identify a part of human life that is hard to define. In other words, using a fuzzy term to define what is considered an elusive hard-to-define quality simply points up the fuzziness, but it does not help to clarify the basic characteristics of what is leisure as compared to other aspects of human life.

For example, in the "Motivational Foundations of Leisure", Iso-Ahola seeks to find an explanation for what is leisure in the "basic innate (psychological) needs that are the main energizers of human growth and potential." From his perspective, this need which everyone is born with both defines what people consider leisure and direct them to be involved under various conditions to satisfy those needs. Given this driving need for leisure, then, Iso-Ahola suggests that having a sense of freedom or autonomy is "the central defining characteristic of leisure". However, he distinguishes this feeling of freedom from the everyday characterization of leisure as "free time", which people use for describing the time when they are not working, since only some of this time time may truly be free from any obligations so someone can Do exactly what they want to do.

For instance, if someone performs chores during this time period, this time would not be really free, although Iso-Ahola suggests that the more a person thinks of his work as an obligation, the more free that person would feel when he is engaged In nonwork activities, and there before that activity might really be considered leisure.

From this perspective, then, if a person truly enjoys their work and participates in a variety of activities that contribute to success at work, though these activities might otherwise be considered leisure for someone who engages in these activities for reasons that have nothing to do with Their job, these activities may no longer be considered leisure. An example of this is the salesman or CEO for a company that plays golf with other potential customers. On the one hand, golf is normally regarded as a leisure-time recreational activity. But it has become part of the salesman's or CEO's work, even though the salesman or CEO may freely choose to play golf or not, or engage in an alternate form of entertainment with prospective clients, such as taking them to a show or ballgame. If that person plays golf, goes to a show, or is a spectator at a ball game with members of his family and no work buddies are present, that might be more properly characterized as leisure. But in many cases, the salesman / CEO may take the family along on a golfing, show, or ballgame excursion with his work buddies, thenby muddying the conception of leisure. Under the circumstances, using a continuum from non-leisure to leisure activities may be a good way to characterize different types of leisure, rather than trying to make a distinction between what is leisure and what is not-leisure.

In any event, building on this notice that freedom is a basic characteristic of leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that leisure activity is characterized by behavior that is self-determined, or which may start off as determined, but can become self-determined by the Process of "internalization" Therefore, to the extent that people perform everyday activities because they want to do so, they make them leisure-like. An example might be if I hate gardening (which I really do), but I start doing it because I can not afford to hire a gardener, and ever I start to feel joy in it, which would turn it into a leisure activity. (But since I can hire a gardener, I have no compelling reason to do this, so for now this is definitely not a leisure-time activity for me).

Then, too, according to Iso-Ahola, leisure might be characterized by escaping, which can contribute to internalizing an activity, which makes it even more a form of leisure.

Iso-Ahola brings together all of these ideas into a pyramid in which the greater one's intrinsic motivation and sense of self-determination, the more one is engaging in true leisure outside of the work context. On the bottom is obligatory nonwork activity participation, such as chores one has to perform in the house. On the next level above this, he diagnoses free-time activity participation in TV and exercise, which he feels are usually not true leisure, since people are not really autonomous in participating in either activity. He claims people lack autonomy in watching TV, because they do not really want to do this and it does not make them feel good about themselves (though this opinion of TV is questionable), and in the case of exercise, he claims that They feel they should do this because it's good for them, rather than because they want to. Finally, at the top of the pyramid is full leisure participation, where one feet complete autonomy and freedom, so one gains intrinsic rewards, a feeling of flow, and social interaction with others.

Finally, to briefly cite Iwasaki's approach to characterizing leisure, he seeks to describe leisure as a way of generating certain types of meanings, although the particular meanings may differ for people experiencing different life experiences or coming from different cultures. In Iwasaki's view, citing the World Leisure Association's description of leisure, meaningful leisure provides "opportunities for self-actualization and further contribution to the quality of community life." As such, leisure includes self-determined behavior, showing competence, engaging in social relationships, having an opportunity for self-reflection and self-affirmation, developing one's identity, and overcoming negative experiences in one's life. Iwasaki also goes on to describe the five key factors which are aspects of leisure (which he prefers to call "leisure-like" pursuits: 1) positive emotions and well-being, 2) positive identities, self-esteem, and spirituality; 3) social and cultural connections and harmony, 4) human strengths and resilience, and 5) learning and human development across the lifespan.

How to Erase Credit Card Debt

In order to erase credit card debt you are taking on a big challenge. You have probably come to this point after the debt on your credit cards has made your budget impossible to handle. The credit card companies send you pre-approved cards without your knowledge offering you a card without any charge for purchases for a certain period of time. It just happens to be around Christmas time or some other holiday and you could use some unexpected extra money, so you charge a few things which lead to many more. Next thing you know, you've reached the maximum on the card and it is time for the percentage to kick in. Now you owe much more than you expected and you're not sure how to get your budget back in line.

You've heard about consolidation of debt to erase your credit card debt but you do not know much about it. The truth is you can do this yourself without paying someone else by reassessing your assets and liabilities and then setting aside a specific amount of money each month to pay towards getting yourself out of credit card debt. This will take determination and some sacrifices but in the long run it will be worth it. You will feel satisfaction in yourself and your efforts when you can look at your checking account and there actually is some money in it after you pay your bills.

Negotiating with your creditors is the hard part. Some credit card companies are willing to work with you to erase credit card debt so that they get most of their money back, but others will not be so cooperative. This is when some people will turn to a third party such as a debt consolidation service. If you choose this course of action, it is important to make sure that the company is reliable. You can do this by contacting the Better Business Bureau who will give you all the information you need to make an intelligent decision regarding which company will best suit your needs. The problem with these debt consolidation companies is that they make statements that they can not always back up. It usually comes down to them trying to sell you their special program which you have to pay for before they'll help you.

The better course of action is for you to take charge of your finances and work towards paying your debt with a positive attitude. This will go a long way in helping you in your negotiations with your creditors. If your creditors feel that you really want to pay off your debts and are not just trying to find some way out of paying them, they will be more willing to try to accommodate you in your attempt to do the right thing. It may take a few years of cutting down your spending habits but it can be done. You should sit down and make a detailed plan as to how you can cut your spending and which credit cards needs to be paid off faster than others.

Another option is to move some of your credit around from a credit card with a high interest rate to one with a lower interest rate. This is called a balance transfer and will help with your monthly budget. Any extra money you receive such as a tax return or an inheritance should be applied towards the paying down of your credit card debts. If you apply yourself to erase your credit card debt, you will find that you can do this without having to pay some third party to assist you.

How to Protect Yourself From Laptop Theft

For most people owning a laptop is all about convenience. Being able to sit where your want to work, wander around from office to office, sit in front of the television or even brows the web in bed are the reasons why laptops have become so popular.

It has also become much more than a work tool. For many people it is the place where you keep all the things that are important to you: your email and financial information, business secrets, personal writings, even irreplaceable media like photos, film, and writings.

So if your laptop were stolen from you tomorrow, what would it do to your life?

Even worse, if a laptop belonging to your business were stolen that contained the personal data of customers or clients, it could put all of them at risk of identity theft and you could be held liable.

This crime draws both the common thief and the more sophisticated identity thief alike, and it's on the rise in England. Last year, a laptop belonging to the Nationwide and containing the personal information of over 11 million customers was stolen and never recovered. In London, laptop theft is up 15% on last year, with over 6500 laptops stolen in 2006 (not including laptops stolen out of homes and offices). Other metropolitan areas in Britain have similar statistics: over 2000 in Edinburgh with a 31% increase, and a 15% increase in Manchester.

Having a laptop stolen is personal nightmare if it is your own machine, but so much worse if you lose information that compromises your friends, co-workers, and clients. At Marks & Spencer's, a laptop lost in 2007 contained sensitive data about 26,000 employees, including their national insurance numbers and other personal identifying information. That cost Marks & Spencer's free credit checks for all employees and a promise to cover them for any damages if their identities were compromised. In the Nationwide case above, the company was fined just under a million pounds.

And even if you get the laptop back, even if the laptop was only "borrowed" its data can be copied off in minutes, putting any data on it at risk even after the machine is returned.

Two simple steps protect yourself against losing your personal computer?

The First Step: Protect Yourself

Laptops are at risk due to the very portability that makes them useful. It takes only seconds for someone to carry off your unguarded laptop, along with all its precious contents. The first thing to do is not leave it unprotected, even for a minute; Keep it in sight. Get good security on your wireless connections while you're at it, and carefully choose the places where you use that connection.

You can also get physical barriers against using a stolen laptop. For instance, biometrics including fingerprint scanners has become increasingly popular with laptops, and key cards that you keep in your wallet or luggage separate from the laptop can be used to secure it. Computers with hard drives mated to internal workings prevent your hard drive from being removed and copied. And if your laptop is used to access the Internet after it is stolen, there are subscription services that can trace it remotely and render it unusable while it connects to the web.

The Second Step: Consider Laptop Insurance

Laptop insurance is becoming one of the fastest growing specialist insurances. With low-cost monthly premiums, having some form of insurance policy could be the one thing between you and financial ruin. Laptop insurance is cheap, and if you have used other protections for your laptop, it gets even cheaper. Many providers offer worldwide cover, accidental damage protection and a 48 hour replacement service.

Protect yourself physically with laptop security and financially with good laptop insurance. With luck, you'll never have to depend on either. But if the worst comes about, you'll be glad you did.

What are the Key Features of a Database Management System?

Every day the demand for a good database management system is increasing. The fact is that information is growing and expanding faster than ever. And this makes sense — all old records still need to be stored and saved, while new records are being added and updated daily. Even companies that five years ago had no use for a database management system are now struggling to even get a handle on the simplest information, as it relates to their customers.

All database management systems have one goal in mind — to take the information you enter into it, and store it effectively. Then, when you need to get that information back, you can access it quickly, without any problem or headaches.

Additionally, you want the feature of being able to access all of your information in one singular central location. What good is all your information going to be if it is scattered about on various disparate systems? If the accounting is on one computer, your inventory on another computer, and your sales information on a third computer, you will not be able to make the necessary snap decisions that are required in the business world.

Another feature many database management systems have is to give you the ability to make complex statistical and data analysis, so you can make the most accurate decision as quickly as possible, since time is money in business.

In addition to those features, another good feature of a database management system is its ability to stay secure. This is especially true, as it relates to hospitals. Most hospitals have very sensitive information about their patients, which could put them in legal problems if that information was accessed.

You want to make sure that you have proper security on your database management system, otherwise your information may be compromised. Nobody wants their competitors to get a get hold of their client list, and hospitals and psychiatrists, among others, have a duty to keep their information about their clients confidential.

Security can be enforced on each individual application that exists within a database management system, or it can be set up on the system itself. This will depend upon how many users are accessing the system, and how many applications are running on that system.

In conclusion, I’ve given you some of the basic features that make up a good database management system.