Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stress Reduction Technique

The body’s natural relaxation response is a powerful antidote to stress. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga can help you activate this relaxation response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity. What’s more, they also serve a protective quality by teaching you how to stay calm and collected in the face of life’s curveballs.

Starting a relaxation practice
A variety of relaxation techniques help you achieve the relaxation response. Those whose stress-busting benefits have been widely studied include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, visualization, yoga, and tai chi.

Learning the basics of these relaxation techniques isn’t difficult. But it takes practice to truly harness their stress-relieving power: daily practice, in fact. Most stress experts recommend setting aside at least 10 to 20 minutes a day for your relaxation practice. If you’d like to get even more stress relief, aim for 30 minutes to an hour.

Getting the most out of your relaxation practice
Set aside time in your daily schedule. The best way to start and maintain a relaxation practice is by incorporating it into your daily routine. Schedule a set time either once or twice a day for your practice. You may find that it’s easier to stick with your practice if you do it first thing in the morning, before other tasks and responsibilities get in the way.

Don’t practice when you’re sleepy. These techniques can relax you so much that they can make you very sleepy, especially if it’s close to bedtime. You will get the most out of these techniques if you practice when you’re fully awake and alert.

Choose a technique that appeals to you. There is no single relaxation technique that is best. When choosing a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, preferences, and fitness level. The right relaxation technique is the one that resonates with you and fits your lifestyle.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Overview: Withdraw from PayPal to a Philippine Bank Account

Instead of detailing the withdrawal process in ever post of the PayPal-to-Bank series, I decided to place the basic process of linking PayPal to a Philippine bank account here. So whenever you need to check if you’ve done the withdrawal process correctly, you can just visit this post for reference.

Requirements for PayPal to Bank Account Withdrawals

Before you can withdraw your PayPal funds to a Philippine bank account, your account must be verified. You can do this with either a Mastercard or Visa credit or debit card. For Pinoy freelancers using oDesk, I would suggest applying for a Payoneer debit card or an EON Cyber Account at Unionbank Philippines to do this.

Once your account is verified, here’s what you need to withdraw your funds from PayPal:

  • Bank account name – Unionbank Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, etc.
  • Bank account number – usually the number is found at the back of your card
  • Bank code – you can download a free copy of the updated list of Philippine bank codes here
  • Funds over PhP 7,000 or USD 160 – this is to avoid the PhP 250 withdrawal fee imposed by PayPal

If you don’t already have a bank account added to your PayPal profile, you can add one by visiting your PayPal account page, hovering your cursor over Profile, and clicking on Add/Edit Bank account. You can then add your bank account details there to start the withdrawal process.

The Withdrawal Process in Detail

Now we’re ready to withdraw our funds from PayPal to a Philippine bank account. Follow these steps and make sure that the details are correct to avoid any errors along the way:

  1. With enough funds in your PayPal account, click on the Withdraw link on the top menu to be directed to the Withdraw Funds page.

  2. You’ll be given 2 choices: withdraw funds to your bank account or withdraw funds to your card. Select the first one. Funds over P6,999 are free of any withdrawal charges while funds below this amount are subject to P50 charge.

  3. Type in the amount you wish to withdraw to your bank account. Avoid using a comma when entering a 4-digit amount to avoid unnecessary confusion. And if you’re receiving foreign currency, you can use PayPal’s currency converter to find out how much you are going to receive after converting to peso. Once you’re ready, click Continue.

  4. Review your transaction and click on the Withdraw Funds button to complete the transaction. Expect your earnings to arrive in your bank account in 3 – 5 days’ time.

If you have any questions or don’t understand something in this tutorial, just leave your questions in the comments below.

Source :

Local Funds Transfer: A Big Financial Break for Pinoy oDesk Contractors

I just discovered this piece of news an hour ago, so pardon for the very late announcement. I literally couldn’t stop reading and emailing people to confirm that this is truly oDesk’s gift to Pinoy contractors for 2011.

Last December 16, 2010, oDesk announced that Philippine contractors can now withdraw their earnings using a new direct and low-cost withdrawal method called Local Funds Transfer. Let’s call this “LFT” for short.

The Local Funds Transfer, a.k.a. LFT, allows you to withdraw your oDesk earnings directly to your Philippine bank account in just a matter of days. The LFT is on beta mode at the moment but oDesk confirms that it’s a secure and more convenient choice for Filipinos and other Philippine-based contractors to use.

You can register as many bank accounts as you want so long as the information for each one is entirely correct. To avoid any delays using this method, make sure that the bank nameand address that’s registered to your account is correct.

Requirements for the Local Funds Transfer Withdrawal Method

If you’re ready to use this new withdrawal method, here are the requirements:

  • Your branch of account’s BRSTN or Bank Routing Symbol Transit Number
  • Your correct bank account details (bank name, account number, address)
  • Registering the LFT method to your account through this link
  • $1.99 per withdrawal after the 1st one made

Based on my research, the BRSTN code is the same as the PayPal codes used for PayPal-to-Bank withdrawals.

However, I mentioned branch of account because according to the LFT page, some banks assign different BRSTN numbers to their numerous branches. Your bank of choice may have followed this system, so make sure to call the bank’s head office or customer support number before registering.

Important Reminders for LFT Users

When you’ve registered successfully and your LFT account on oDesk is activated, you can now start withdrawing directly to your bank! I personally haven’t tried this method yet, so this post will be updated once I do so.

Just a couple of reminders before proceeding with the LFT method:

  1. Read the full details about the LFT in this particular page of the Help Section of the oDesk website.
  2. Make sure that you have enough funds to cover the $1.99 charge after your first withdrawal through this method.
  3. Always make sure that your bank account details (including your registered address) is correct to avoid any delays.

As for cost, it’s free for the first withdrawal and $1.99 for every withdrawal afterwards. Again, some banks will charge a remittance fee for each transaction, but according to the LFT page:

  • Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI account holders are waived of any remittance fees when using this method.
  • Unionbank Philippines charges P50 for every transaction using this method.
  • Transfers (according to oDesk) usually take 3-5 business days for the funds to reflect in your account, regardless which bank you use.

Again, once I’ve tried the method myself during a week with absolutely no holidays I’ll update this post or write a full review of the Local Funds Transfer method for more accurate information.

Share Your Thoughts and Experiences with LFT

If you’re a Pinoy oDesk contractor, were you able to give the LFT withdrawal method a shot? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

And if you used a different bank to withdraw to besides BPI and Unionbank and received a unique BRSTN code for your branch, we hope you could share it with everyone else as well.

Source :