Top Ten Tips for Balance Between Home and Work

In my never ending quest for the perfect balance between work and home, and friends and clients, I have been blessed with many great mentors and the opportunity to learn countless lessons for myself and from others. Many of these tips are hard-fought for me. And so, in honor of David Letterman’s famous “Top Ten,” here are my top ten tips on getting to balance.

Number 10: Use one calendar. It sounds simple, but put your personal and your business commitments in the same place so you can quickly see what you have going on and make intentional decisions about where you want to spend your time. How many times has it happened that you inadvertently scheduled a work commitment (or a doctor’s appointment) on top of your child’s school assembly?

Number 9: If you work from home or have the luxury of a flexible work day, set a specific start and end time for your work day. Set clear boundaries so that you do not end up doing “that one more thing” that takes you through dinner time.

Number 8: Never go to bed angry. Resolve whatever the problem is before you head off for bedtime. Trust me, you will sleep better and feel better. Apologize even if you did not start the fight.

Number 7: Take all your vacation days! What are you saving them for?

Number 6: Don’t keep up with the Joneses. Meaning, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, or how many committees they are on, or what activities they pack into their days. Define what balance means to you, and stick to it. I once had a business owner tell me that I couldn’t run my business in just 40 hours a week – and for him, 60 hours was just fine. But guess what? I found a way. You need to find your own way to achieve your balance, not somebody else’s definition of balance.

Number 5: Listen to your body. Really listen. Your body will tell you when it needs a break. This tip is particularly hard, because we become experts at ignoring warning signs. Begin to pay attention to what your body is saying – build that habit of actively listening to when your body tells you it is worn out, or not eating right, or getting sick.

Number 4: If you don’t block time for exercise or physical activity, it won’t happen. Make an appointment to go to the gym, or play tennis, or join your son in a pick-up basketball game.

Number 3: Laugh as often as you can. Find ways to bring laughter into your day. Watch a comedy; listen to the comedy station on your radio; call your favorite jokester friend.

Number 2: Set consistent sleep patterns. This is not just about the number of hours of sleep you get every night (although that’s important too). In addition, get in the habit of going to sleep and rising at about the same time every day. Yes, that includes the weekends. Try it, you will thank me.

And, the Number 1 Tip for Balance: Make time for what is most important to you. Have you ever heard the story of the Mayonnaise Jar, the Rocks, and the Two Beers? In that story, a professor tells his class about the “big rocks”. Those big rocks represent the most important things in your life. If you fill the mayonnaise jar with all the little things (the “pebbles”) then you won’t have room for the big rocks. Put the big rocks in first, the rest will find a space somewhere.

If you want a copy of the full Mayonnaise Jar story, contact us. We would be delighted to share it with you. And let us know which of these Top Ten Tips is more valuable for you? What other tips can you share with our readers?

Work at Home Tips How to Organize Your Tasks

So you have set up your work at home business, you have the product or service and now you just need to get started and make all that lovely cash. Why you just have to organize all the little tasks ahead into a manageable list. One of the most helpful work at home tips I have yet been given is this little one I’ll share now.

Note down your to-do lists. Yes, I said lists, because you should have a few. There are daily jobs like handling calls and emails, checking up on sales, there are weekly or monthly jobs like dealing with the paperwork and accounts (yuck!), you need to review and plan for the weeks and months ahead not to mention all the other regular things that pop up. Very important things like actual business and calls or emails from your potential customers. Lets make sense of those lists with this little tip.

Put all those little tasks into a matrix. This is not difficult, just take a sheet of paper and divide it in four by drawing lines through the centre of the page from side to side and again from top to bottom. Place the important and urgent tasks into the top left corner, the urgent but less important ones into the top right. The bottom left corner will hold the important but not so urgent tasks and finally the bottom right corner can have all the remaining tasks, that will be the not important and not urgent ones.

The importance of a task to your business venture is the foremost factor and urgency is the second. Rewrite this simple matrix every day and change it to ensure all the tasks are divided up appropriately into their sectors. Delete the completed tasks and shuffle the others to the correct sector. Don’t worry if this is a bit confusing right now, just take the sheet of paper, do it and all will become clear and obvious.

Now work through the day by concentrating on the top left sector first then the other urgent tasks but only after considering the other important ones still to be completed. Remember importance takes priority and you will be pleasantly surprised how many apparently urgent jobs start to take up so much less of your time and attention.

Approaching the prioritizing of tasks like this has been one of the most useful work at home tips I’ve come across, just try it yourself and see how it can really help you get highly organized and running smoothly.

Home Gardening Tips For Beginners

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Gardening is a great hobby and wonderful pastime that people receive pleasure from worldwide. For all the time, hard work and effort put into designing, planting and maintaining a garden, a gardener’s reward is the beauty of lush, lovely gardens. It gives them a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction looking at the plants and flowers they planted and the nurturing care they gave them. Many gardeners find working in their garden and getting close to Mother Nature a therapeutic, relaxing hobby that makes them forget about the stress and worry of everyday life. Gardeners also get a lot of exercise and a great deal of fresh air, which is an added bonus while they are doing something they have a passion for and love. Here are some gardening tips that can help you have a beautiful property and gardens.

· First time gardeners should begin small to make the experience enjoyable and successful. It is easier for a beginner to plan, plant and manage a small garden while learning the essential basics of plant care such as watering, fertilizing and the secrets of pest, weed and disease control. Once you master this, you can increase the size of your garden or create larger spaces. An overly large or ambitious gardening project for beginners that will require several weeks or even months to finish is a quick way to feel frustrated, upset and defeated. It is all right to think big but you should divide your gardening projects into small sections.

· Water is essential for a beautiful, successful garden but watering too frequently results in plants and grass with shallow root systems. The best way to water most plants is once or twice weekly but for a longer length of time so the soil becomes well soaked. Early morning watering is best because the plant and flower leaves will dry during the day and this will help prevent diseases such as fungal infections.

· Weed the garden thoroughly and then use an organic mulch to help prevent new weeds from appearing. Mulch also helps hold nutrition and water in and stabilizes the soils temperature.

· Use your own homemade compost to reduce costs and reuse the organic material from your garden, lawn clippings, kitchen and your fall leaves.

Gardening on a Slope

· For any areas of your property that are steeply sloped, stay away from planting grass or any type of garden that required maintenance such as cutting or weeding. Trying to look after plants or cut grass growing on a steep slope can certainly be dangerous. Instead, plant shrubs and trees that require no maintenance but will anchor the soil and slow water runoff. If you enjoy a garden with a natural look, sow wildflowers, plant tall perennial grasses or even groundcover but make sure its maintenance free.

· For shaded slopes, shade-loving perennials such as hostas, some types of ground cover, ferns and low growing vines will look great but also help prevent erosion.

· Rock gardens are another alternative as they help establish a secure foundation.

Reading and learning about basic gardening tips will help you grow the garden of your dreams. Selecting the right patio furniture and outdoor decor will add to the beauty and provide you with the perfect place to enjoy your garden.