Time: A Precious Commodity

time as a commodityWhether your commitments are parenting, going to school, working one or more jobs with excessive time requirements, or other endeavors, you have to learn to make choices that protect your health and sanity. You also need to make time in your schedule for your family and your down time. Don’t compromise your quality of life because you are afraid to admit you have taken on too much.

Because time is a precious commodity, consider using these five tips for reducing your time commitments

1. Place your current time commitments in rank order. Be sure to note the number of hours these activities currently require. One strategy is to shave off hours from one or more commitments so that you build some extra time back into your schedule.

2. Speak with your boss about your current assignments. It may be that you have committed to too many projects at work. Your boss may agree to adjust your workload so that you don’t have to work so many extra hour

3. Adjust your sleep schedule. Sometimes simple adjustments like going to bed earlier so you can get up earlier the next day will give you the time slots you need to be more productive at work and home. Instead of driving yourself crazy with multi-tasking and to-do lists, analyze your peak energy levels during the day. Maximize your day by giving yourself a generous time slot for work; your time slot should be targeted to the time of day when you think and feel best.

4. Seek assistance instead of abandoning time commitments that make your entire schedule impossible. For example, if you are attending college and have family commitments, find someone in the family who can pick up the slack at home so that you have time for attending class and doing homework.

5. Give yourself a break; prepare to explain what you can reasonably continue to do for others. Once you’ve tried to explain your situation to people who depend on you, you have to make difficult decisions. You can either cut back on time commitments or eliminate them. If the people in your network care about your wellbeing they will understand that you need to reduce your workload so that you have enough time to relax, rejuvenate, and tend to your personal needs (i.e. schoolwork or spending time with family).

Reorganizing your time commitments can be tough, but time is something you cannot regain in this lifetime. Look for ways to find balance when you try to divide yourself among your many time obligations.

How To Make The Best Of The Recession

recessionIf you’ve lost your job, are having trouble paying your mortgage and are wondering how to feed your family, you’re probably not up for hearing that there’s a bright spot hidden in the heart of a recession or other economic turmoil for many people. There is a kernel of hope in the ocean of gloom that is the current economic bust. The recession, which has taken and continues to take so much from everyone, has given us one good thing. It has given us the gift of time.

For most of us, our jobs took up at least fifty hours a week, when you consider the time it took to get there and back. For some people, it was more – up to sixty precious hours that we spent away from our families, our homes and our favorite interests Maybe that’s why many people just veg out in front of the TV when they get home.

Well now, if you’re no longer employed, you have that time back, except for the time you put into job searching. Before you lose that time to mindless web surfing or old Judge Judy reruns, take a minute to think of all the things you have time to do now. There are so many possibilities and options and many of them are completely free.

No matter where you live, there is probably an adult ed program near you. Call your nearest school system and see what they have to offer for night classes. Many of them teach things you can use to hone new skills for a career change. You might even find yourself happy at the prospect of doing something you really like as opposed to what you used to do just for the money.

If nothing else, you may be able to develop a hobby or craft into something that will make money for you on a part-time basis. Learning new things is good for your brain and helps you stay sharp. That’s very important when it comes to competing for the few jobs out there. You could also check with local colleges and trade schools which sometimes have classes that you can audit or attend cheaply if you’re only taking one class rather than getting a degree.

The Ten Don’ts of Christmas Shopping

christmas-santa-2Although Christmas shopping begins as an enjoyable experience, it often decays into a frustrating nightmare. Holiday shopping should be fun. Remember the ten don’ts of Christmas shopping and savour every holiday moment.

Thou Shalt Not Procrastinate
Don’t put your Christmas shopping off until the last week of the holidays. The stores will be overloaded. The other shoppers will be in a panic. The staff will be getting tired of the holiday rush. The deals will be picked over and the hard-to-get items will be sold out. The earlier you can get started, the more enjoyable your Christmas shopping will be.

Thou Shalt Not Be Unprepared
Don’t head out to the stores without a plan. Make a simple list of names and gift ideas. Stick to it as much as you can. This ensures you will not have to run out at the last minute to find something for a forgotten niece or nephew. Good homework will help prevent you from browsing for hours. Preparation will help you stay strong and not succumb to inadequate impulse buys.

Thou Shalt Not Overspend
Don’t end up with a financial hangover and a case of buyer’s remorse. Don’t become caught up in the excitement of consumers consuming at full throttle. Prepare a budget in advance. Decide on appropriate spending targets for each name on your list. Check to make sure that the sum of your holiday spending is well within your means.

Thou Shalt Not Over Do It
Don’t try to do it all in one day. Holiday shopping is no small task. Try several small outings. This will allow you to hit many stores in many different locations, all over town.

Thou Shalt Not Over Pay
Don’t assume that because a price is already marked down, that it is also the best price in town. Christmas retail is the most competitive time of the year. Take the time to do some research on a computer. Browse your flyers. This will help you to come up with gift ideas It will help to flesh out your budget. Most of all, it will help you to take advantage of the best deals.

Thou Shalt Not Walk Alone
Don’t fly solo. The holidays are all about friends and family. Make sure to include them in your shopping plans. They may have gift ideas to share. They may have information about deals They may even want to chip in on some of the gifts you are buying.

Thou Shalt Not Deny Thyself
Don’t forget to eat. Bring a snack. Spoil yourself at the food court. Stay hydrated. Dress in layers to avoid becoming overheated. Buy a special Christmas gift for yourself; after all, you have been so good this year.

Thou Shalt Not Get Stuck In Traffic
Don’t shop during rush hour. Avoid peak times Many retailers have longer store hours for the holidays. Arrive early to get a good parking space. Do your shopping during the week.

Thou Shalt Not Buy Junk
Don’t buy something that will be in the landfill before next Christmas. Sometimes deals are not all that they seem. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Sometimes that plastic toy or knickknack dust collector seems like a great gift idea. Often, it is really just a waste. Choose either gifts that will be consumed right away or gifts that have a practical long-term value.

Thou Shalt Not Be Indiscriminate
Don’t miss the chance to vote with every dollar you spend. Do you prefer to support mega-corporations or small businesses? Would you rather purchase locally made products or imported products? Would anyone on your list appreciate an environmentally friendly choice? Sometimes a green Christmas is not so bad after all.