Vacation season at the office means your motivation plummets. After all, you want to be at the ocean, on an exotic adventure or relaxing at home, too, instead of working. Rather than allow your vacationing coworkers to rob you of your productivity, try four tips that keep you motivated at work all summer.
1. Wake Up in a Good Mood
Maybe you aren’t waking up in an island paradise, but you can use your morning routine to put you in a good mood for the day.
*Brew an exotic coffee flavor and enjoy it on the patio.
*Spend a few extra minutes meditating and mentally preparing yourself for the day.
*Eat a balanced diet with protein, whole grain and fruit.
*Count your blessings. You aren’t on vacation, but you do have a job.
*Wear your favorite color each day so that you feel confident and upbeat.
2. Boost Your Resume
When coworkers go on vacation, your workload may increase. You could focus on the inconvenience of doing extra work or see the responsibility as a resume booster. All that extra work increases your career experience and marketability today and in the future.
3. Focus on Your Paycheck
While your coworkers are spending money on vacation, you can make extra money by working overtime. Then, use the cash you make to fund your own vacation later in the year, repay debt or buy tropical slushies on your lunch break.
4. Build Office Rapport
With less people in the office, you can really get to know your fellow coworkers. The rapport you build increases your motivation, productivity and reputation during summer vacation season and year round. So, buy donuts and fruit to share for breakfast or invite someone you don’t know very well to lunch.
Summer vacation season can either bust your motivation or boost your career. Instead of moaning about work, look for ways to stay motivated and take advantage of your coworkers’ vacations.
Fourth of July fireworks, parades and cookouts are a time for you to relax with family and friends. As you plan your celebration this year, take several steps to ensure safety for everyone involved in celebrating the United States’ birthday.
Use Fireworks Safely
Public fireworks displays are the safest way to enjoy the beautiful colors and terrific booms of this July 4th tradition, especially when you maintain a distance of at least 500 feet between you and the show. Firework displays at home can be fun though too. If you go that route, take these precautions.
- Follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Never allow children to play with the fireworks.
- Stock a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby.
- Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
- Remove flammable materials from the area.
- Never point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles or structures.
- Properly dispose of duds rather than trying to relight them.
- Take Precautions While Grilling
Burgers, hot dogs, fruit and pizza taste delicious when they’re grilled. Grab your favorite side dishes and follow a few precautions that ensure you and your guests grill safely.
- Always supervise the grill when it’s in use.
- Never grill indoors or in a fully enclosed area such as a garage or tent.
- Use lighter fluid sparingly and never after the coals are ignited.
- Keep children and pets away from the hot grill.
- Remove flammable objects, including trees, from near the grill.
- Use long-handled tools to handle food.
- Stay Safe on the Beach
Swimming is a fun summer activity, and it’s good exercise. At the beach, lake, public pool or backyard pool, stay safe with these tips.
- Swim only in designated areas.
- Obey the lifeguard and all posted signs.
- Swim sober.
- Get out of the water during a storm or if you hear thunder or see lightening.
- Require children to wear life jackets.
- Don’t dive into shallow water.
- Wear Sun Bathing Protection
Picnics are part of many July 4th celebrations. You should also take these protective measures.
- Wear sunscreen that’s at least 15 SPF.
- Remember to apply sunscreen to your ears, hair part and the tops of your feet.
- Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest.
- Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours or more frequently if you’re sweating.
- Drink plenty of water even if you’re not thirsty.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves if you have to be in direct sunlight.
- Watch for signs of heat stroke, including hot, red skin, shallow breathing and rapid, weak pulse.
Your July 4th celebration will be safe when you take these steps.
There are those that negotiate for the most reasonable deal possible and those that negotiate for the sake of negotiating. Sellers and buyers alike need to realize that the best deal possible is one where both get what they want in the deal.
This isn’t necessarily an easy point to arrive at and is often a lesson in patience. In real estate, there’s something called the X-factor – a potential home buyer spends countless hours viewing properties until they finally find their perfect home. Instead of making an offer based on what the value of the home is to them and what comparable prices are, they immediately start to ponder how much less they should offer than whatever the asking price might be.
Sorry, but there isn’t some tacit X-factor percentage that should just automatically be subtracted from all listing prices. Home owners are more often than not just as eager to sell as the buyer is to buy. If so, the price of the home is usually realistically priced and priced closely to its comps.
Still, the quest for a deal spurs many to start with a low-ball offer that’s not only unrealistic, but often insulting to the seller. If the seller is offended, negotiations usually die before they’ve ever begun. So, any serious buyer shouldn’t have some magic automatic deduction from an asking price in their head. Look at the comps in the area and determine what the value of the home is for you based on how congruent it is to the needs and desires of your family.
How a purchasing price is arrived at for both owner and buyer is a very personal process. When accepting an offer, a buyer considers how fast they need to sell the home, how bad they need to sell the home, pressures from having already purchasing a replacement home, what is owed on the home, and so forth.
On the other hand, two potential buyers can look at the very same property and come up with two very different personal values for the home, depending on how congruent it is with each of their needs, the location of the home, appeal of the home, amenities, school system, and so forth. Aside from personal value, buyers and sellers must also look at the how much a lender will lend on the home based on it appraisal.
Price isn’t the only thing negotiated during the sale of a home. There’s also time lines, what will stay and go from the home, and who will pay for any problems found upon professional inspection. The most important thing for buyers and sellers to remember is that negotiating isn’t about one side getting everything they desire; it’s a give-and-take process of compromise.
To avoid a winner-take-all complex from forming, buyers and sellers should both have a list of top priorities prior to starting any negotiations. As new issues arise during the process, priorities might need to be re-evaluated to see if the priority is truly a must have for the home to change hands.
Many problems, such as fees and repairs, often can be solved by the buyer and seller meeting in the middle. Agreeing to split the costs evenly can be a much better option than wasting time and money to negotiate for weeks. For example, a seller that will pay another mortgage payment because of the additional time spent negotiating might actually find it cheaper to pay half the cost of a minor repair and close the deal before the next note is due.
Sometimes there are legitimate deal breakers. If so, then it just wasn’t the best option for the parties involved. But, before giving up, do try mulling over the troubling aspect of the negotiation for a few days. You can move on to the other areas of the negotiation. If everything else is agreed on, then there may be more encouragement to compromise on the problematic area.
Want to make sure your little one grows up to be a money genius? It’s time to get to work. You might be thinking, “But my son just mastered potty training!” However, it’s never too early to start grooming your child into a money-managing pro. Although your children will probably learn the basics about money in school, it’s up to you to teach them how to manage their finances. Here are a few tips to help you raise a money-managing genius.
Start early. From the time children start walking and talking, you can start teaching them some important lessons that will put them on the financial fast track. Of course, the complexity of these financial lessons will depend on your children’s ages.
Teach preschoolers about money by showing them how you use those mysterious green bills to make every day purchases. When you’re paying the cashier at the grocery store, explain that you are giving the store money in exchange for the items in your cart. Once your little urchins learn how to count, you can really get down to business. Help them tally up the coins in their money bank and discuss how much more they need to buy that fancy toy. When they’re preteens, show them how you balance the checkbook, pay the bills, and deposit checks at the bank. By the time they’re in high school, you should be talking to them about your family budget and investments. You could even check your IRA or 401(k) statement together. Your teens might not fully understand all the specifics right now, but these exercises could plant those first financial seeds.
Make them work for it. If you want your little ones to blossom into true financial planning masterminds, make them work for their weekly allowance. Don’t just hand over a wad of cash. If you set that precedent now, your kids will be in for a rude awakening when they enter the real world. So, if your son insists that he has to have that super-cool, high adrenaline Xbox game, don’t hand it over immediately; make him work for it. Tell him if he really wants that game, he’d better get busy mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and bathing Fido.
Although some parents are anti-allowance, many financial experts say that a weekly allowance is often a great learning tool. Your children will learn that they have to work to earn money, and then they will have the option to either spend or save that money in whatever way they choose. Before you agree on a weekly allowance, it’s important to set some ground rules. Figure out which household chores your children will have to complete each week in order to receive their weekly pay. You can even help them set “financial goals” with their allowance. For example, if your daughter has been eyeing a pair of designer jeans, tell her that she could buy them if she saves up her allowance for a couple of months. This teaches her a valuable lesson about saving.
Give him a head start. Want to give your kiddo a financial head start on his path to financial security? If you’ve got the cash, and they have some amount of earned income, you might consider making a small monthly contribution to an IRA in their name. When it comes to retirement accounts, the sooner you start investing, the bigger the nest egg grows.
Here’s an example: If you contributed $56 a month from the day your child is born until her 18th birthday, her retirement account will grow to $1 million by the time she’s 65 (assuming an 8% average annual growth).
If you decide to open an IRA in your child’s name, sit down with her and tell her how it works once she’s old enough to understand. This will teach her the importance of investing and saving.
Lead by example. Of course, the most effective way to teach your child about money is to demonstrate smart financial planning yourself. You can’t rightly tell your child how important it is invest and save when your own savings account is empty and you’re busy racking up thousands of dollars of credit card debt.
In other words, if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. After all, children generally mimic their parents’ behavior and develop similar habits. So, if you want your child to be financial planning genius, you’ll have to become one yourself. With a little bit of encouragement, lots of love, and plenty of financial advice, you can put your kiddo on the road to financial brilliance.
When it comes to workplace safety, especially in big cities, have you thought about the company parking lot or garage? Your co-workers use it at least twice a day to stow and shelter their vehicles, but beyond that it’s fairly invisible. A closer look reveals that predators might easily be lurking there.
To minimize this threat, experts recommend ensuring that workers (as well as visitors) take these precautions:
- Stay alert for cruising vehicles, whose drivers can stop suddenly and jump out to rob or assault you.
- If you’re using a parking lot, park near the building in a visible, lighted area.
- In a parking garage, park near the parking attendant (if there is one) or near a well-lit exit. Women should avoid using stairs and elevators, if possible.
- Use the main exit/entrance rather than a side or secluded one.
- Lock any valuables (including GPS, shopping, other bags, etc.) out of sight. If you’re walking to your vehicle after hours, ask a co-worker or security officer to accompany you.
- If you have to walk alone, ask someone to watch from inside, if possible. Turn around frequently to make sure you’re not being followed and pretend that you’re waving to someone ahead to give the impression you’re not alone.
- Don’t talk on your cellphone or listen to music with ear pods — predators are looking for victims who seem distracted or unaware.
- Have your car keys and personal alarm or whistle ready as you approach your vehicle.
- If someone nearby looks suspicious, keep walking and get to a safe place where you can call for help.
- Before you unlock the door, take a good look around, inside, and behind the vehicle.
- Once you enter the vehicle, lock all doors promptly and keep your windows up until you’ve exited the lot or garage.
Spring cleaning does more than remove dirt and grime left over from winter. It also protects your house and reduces maintenance costs. So, try four spring cleaning tips this season as you cleanse your home.
1. Wash walls, windows and baseboards.
Often overlooked during weekly cleaning, the walls, windows and baseboards of your home harbor plenty of dirt and dust. Wash them at least once a year to ensure they look nice and to protect their finish.
*Move the furniture away from the walls, and wipe down the walls with a slightly damp cloth or magic eraser.
*The baseboards are also easy to wash off with a damp cloth. A toothbrush reaches into all the crevices.
*Use vinegar on the windows instead of glass cleaner to cut through accumulated dirt and prevent streaks.
2. Scrub the carpet.
Accumulated dirt, pet dander and odors can quickly ruin your carpets. Instead of merely running the vacuum each week, deep clean the carpets at least once a year. You can easily rent a carpet cleaner and do the job yourself or hire a professional cleaner as you prolong the life of your floors.
3. Care for furniture.
Modern or antique, your furniture will last longer when it’s free from dirt. Take time this spring to wipe off each piece from top to bottom. Use a soft cloth on wood to prevent scratches, and remember to spot treat dirty upholstery, flip the cushions and repair any tears or holes in the fabric.
4. Reduce clutter.
In addition to attracting pests and rodents, clutter reduces your ability to exit your home in an emergency. Commit to tossing or donating clutter like piles of books, excess furniture or anything you haven’t used in six months. Your home will thank you.
With these four spring cleaning tips, you’re able to reduce maintenance costs over time. So, look forward to protecting your home this season.