The Work From Home Real Life Balancing Act

We all do it – sit down to help with homework, then the phone rings. We grab it, thinking it’ll be a 2 second call. 45 minutes later, the kids are frustrated, dinner’s not ready, the crisis you tried to avert by answering the phone has erupted into catastrophe, and you feel lousy.

Or, it’s date night. You’re all ready to go, the kids are taken care of, and you decide to check email one more time. The next thing you know, it’s been 20 minutes, the kids have found you, your spouse is antsy, and you’re frustrated by the email you wanted to check “real quickly.” Your night out is tainted by frustration and disappointment.

I could go on and on, pointing out how those of us who work from home just can’t seem to turn it off.

Let me ask you a question:

If you wanted to take out a home equity loan through your credit union, would you expect them to come in at 3am to process the paperwork, simply because it works for you? Absolutely not! Running a home-based business is no different.

  • Set office hours, and stick to them.This simple strategy is the most effective way to begin to balance real life and work. When your work day ends, shut the door. That doesn’t mean take 2 phone calls or answer 3 more emails or text your assistant all night long; it means quit working and re-engage in real life.
  • Work when you’re supposed to. Spend work time actually, you know, working! Don’t do laundry, or start to clean your bedroom, or pay personal bills while you’re “at the office.” After all, would a 9-to-5 boss let you do those things on the clock?
  • Set aside time for yourself, each and every day, doing at least one thing that energizes you. Some days, it might be an hour workout or run. Other days, it might be 5 minutes to pray or meditate. Maybe it’s lunch with a friend, or a massage. Allowing yourself to breathe makes you a better you.
  • Be selfish with your time. It’s okay to let the phone ring when you’re working or with your family. Just because the world wants to connect 24/7 doesn’t mean we have to participate! It’s okay to put your family and work priorities above an acquaintance’s.
  • Set and maintain boundaries.This is key. Saying “no” is okay. Declining to work with a potentially difficult person is okay. Choosing to do business with people who embrace your ethics is okay. Boundaries enable us to take control in all areas of life.

Start with just one of these tips. Add the others in as you deem possible.

Take life one hour at a time, one day at a time.

Remember why you’ve chosen to work from home, and honor that reason.

Wishing you joy in the journey…

Being Smart About Car Security

Most cars today have the option of remote keyless entry, it’s just that many people don’t really know how to make the most of it. The common questions that arise are what happens when I press all the buttons on the key. Many are also sceptical about the safety associated with such a key if it can open a door from over 20ft away. Many also wonder about the possibility of someone else being able to open the door of the car with a similar key.

There are two basic remote keyless entry devices that are in the market. The first is a fob that is on your key ring which will lock and unlock your doors. Many keys also come with a means to arm and disarm an alarm on your car. The other kind is a small controller that is usually hung from your sun visor that will help you open a garage door. They can be part of home security systems that are remote control based.

For the first kind, that is a fob with a keychain, works with a small radio transmitter. When you press the relevant button on the fob, it sends out a coded signal to the receiver which either in the car or in the garage and this triggers the action to be completed.

Security of course is a big issue with remote keyless entry car keys. If it were that simple, then people would be opening each other’s cars and this could be a huge security threat. There are however ways and means in which each key is personalized and does not work when it comes to another car. It all is based on the programming of the chip that is inside the key and its transmitter and receiver.

There are several advantages to using a keyless entry system for your car. For one it is an efficient means of securing your car. It is simple enough to use and easy enough to reprogram to suit your needs. It works as a means of entry into the car, a means to lock it and to trigger a theft alarm whenever required. All of these advantages put together make it an excellent means of car security. It is also compact and is easily incorporated into your key or onto the key ring that you have. Such electronically created devices often have a fool-proof level of efficiency to them.

The Kinds Of Car Keys To Choose From

The automotive industry has come a long way and today car keys are no longer the old style mechanical cut versions. Of course there are several brands that still use this form of keys, but there are numerous other versions out there as well. In mechanical keys, they are machine cut as the name suggests and are more popular with brands such as Ford, GM or even Chevrolet. There are quite a few truck models too that works with these forms of keys. Despite the numerous models of cars on the road, the machine cut continues to be a favourite.

The next version you have is the laser cut automotive keys. These are the advanced versions of the machine cut keys and are also called the sidewinder or the internal cut keys. They have a square edge which have matching cuts on either side. These can fit into a car’s ignition any way you like. Their advantages are that they are not easy to pick and will need specialized help. There is a unique software used in its production and those manning the machines will need specialized training as well. These are found in luxury brand cars like that of Mercedes as well as Audi.

There are several other popular styles of car keys available. You have the transponder keys that have a minute computer chip inserted in the key handle. This is for additional ignition security and to prevent the key from being forged. There is the remote or the switchblade form of transponder keys.

Then you have the smart keys which have a laser cut key that is built in. These kinds of keys gives the driver the flexibility of entering the car and starting it without actually taking the key out of his pocket. Then you have what is known as the VATS keys. This has a unique chip on the blade which though not electronic in nature, has got the name.

And then you have what are known as valet keys. These are given along with a regular transponder key. There is however a slight modification to it, where you can open doors and ignition, but not a locked boot or trunk. These can be made out of plastic or metal.

There are several varieties of keys and the kind you get will depend on the kind of vehicle you pick up. This is essential to the safety of your car and you.

How a Shuttle Works

With the current economic crunch everyone is looking for a way to cut expenses. Shuttle services have therefore become a popular means of traveling to and from the airport, home, office, hotel or any other location. Since a shuttle typically transports more than six passengers, they are able to offer low fares by splitting the overall cost of the ride among the passengers. They are comfortable, reliable and, most of all, less costly than other alternatives such as a cab or limousine.

Making shuttle reservations from home

To schedule a shuttle service to pick you up from your residence all you have to do is visit their homepage or call the company’s office number. The company will dispatch either a van or a bus to come pick you up within a fifteen-minute window and will drop you at a convenient terminal at the airport. Shuttles carefully schedule their departure time so as to guarantee that the passengers reach the airport in time for their flight. For instance, if you schedule to be picked up at 08:00 am the ride will arrive between 08:00 am and 08:15 am, thus it is important that when scheduling a particular pick up time, you should ensure that you will be ready to travel, otherwise you will inconvenience the other clients who are sharing with you.

From the airport

While it is not necessarily a must for you to make a reservation for a shuttle while at the airport most companies would recommend you to do so. Making an advance reservation when arriving from a long distance flight will save you from the agony of waiting for transport and the hassle of making payments at the airport or aboard the shuttle. However, one should also bear in mind that making an advanced reservation does not necessarily mean that a ride will be waiting for you on arrival. Due to safety considerations major airports do not permit buses or vans to wait at the curb. They will be found at a convenient holding location which is walking distance from the airport.

Most shuttle companies have a ticket counter within the airport or some will have representatives waiting at the curbside. Either way the procedure is simple and straight forward.

  • As soon as you have collected all your luggage, let the company’s representative know the particular location you are travelling to and give them your confirmation number.
  • The representative will feed these details into the company’s system so as to inform the dispatchers to group you with other clients from the same or different terminals who are going in your direction.
  • An available shuttle is then released from the holding lot to come pick you up along with the other clients.
  • You will board the shuttle as soon as it arrives. The time you will take to arrive at your destination will depend on the traffic conditions, number of passengers and number of stops. The company representative will be in a good position to give you an accurate estimate.

Upscale Down Town Large City Parking Structure Onsite Auto Detailing and Car Washing

Over the years I’ve had mobile car washing and auto detailing companies ask me about working in large Metro Area parking structures, offering services to company employees in the building. Sometimes folks contact me about setting up services at Airport Park and Fly’s. The other day someone asked about a 1,000 parking space parking garage in the high-rent district. Okay so, let’s say you were putting together a business plan for something like this – how many car owners are really going to be interested in your services? Let’s talk.

It has been my experience that you get 15% peak at the 6th week point providing the quality is “excellent” in the first-fifth week. The first week expect perhaps 5-7%. Now then, generally if you offer 5-day week service you get the most business on Thurs-Fri for weekend, so at first the Monday-Tuesday business might be dismal. These numbers “assume” that you have pre-announced advanced notification, flyers, faxes, or notification from the property manager of a new service which everyone considers trying. You should get 8% of the people getting weekly washes after that 6th week, and the rest getting add-on services for the total of that 15%.

Now then, the people’s cars will still be clean from the original 1-2 weeks, so the second and third week, expect slow growth, less than the first two week, but things then progress. Some folks choose not to use the service regularly because of cost, or kids at home washing cars, DIY crowd; by week six you should peak or plateau at 75% of your future maximum future volume as you slowly win over folks who budget you as a fixed expense.

What about pricing?

Okay so, with all this said unless your buildings contain high-end clientele and is in the downtown financial district – lawyers and other financial type businesses – then your price should be fair and honorable for the middle class. Remember most of your customers will become – if you do this right – weekly executive in-and-out washes at let’s say $15-25 each. Then once per month quick express wax at $40-50. Then, every other month max detail $100+.

You should not forgo the single-mom secretary with the beginner entry point BMW, she’s your very best word of mouth, don’t price her out of the market! Or give her a “free exterior only” wash with tire-dressing if there are 5-or more per office that sign up.

Let’s say you are working with luxury buildings, not condos, I am taking about luxury office buildings with enormous parking structures; if this is a mega-high-end crowd it’s okay to keep your higher price points perhaps one-third or half again more, those higher prices might survive, although I am sketchy on that, economically speaking in the present period. You can always bundle extras rather than lowering price, and you can always bump the prices up a few more dollars once you prove yourself.

What if a property company has 10 or more buildings?

This is common in downtown districts as one company is in charge of many, many, buildings and parking structures. They want amenity type services in all of them. Still, don’t take all the buildings at once, work into it, over committing might be unwise, labor constraints issues, and customer service managers, very challenging working in such a controlled chaotic environment – at first, that is. You’ll get used to it. You have to get it right the first time or your reputation will be trashed for a long while, you could lose 10s of 1,000s of dollars in sales the first six months trying to overcome a poor start.

Indeed, I hope I’ve at least answered some of the questions you might have. Still, please remember all this advice are merely my preliminary thoughts, but I’ve been asked about this now so many times that I thought I’d just put it into an article to save my time in the future. Every circumstance is different, and to do this topic justice I’d really, really need more details on this to better accurately guestimate for each potential circumstance. Please consider all this and think on it.

Include Beach Rentals in Your Vacation Plans

When it comes to planning the perfect vacation, in order to get the best deals you need to spend some time shopping around. With the cost of airfare and hotel accommodations rising, it is getting even harder to make cheap or low cost vacation plans. There are ways you can still take a vacation, have a great time, and spend as little money as possible. You just need to do some research and learn about the different beach rentals you can stay at to help reduce your overall expenses.

Since you are planning a getaway from the world of responsibility and stress, why should you stay at a place that reminds you of what you are trying to escape from? When you stay at hotels, you still put yourself in an environment that can all too frequently remind you of work. This can put a damper on your mood and keep you from getting the most out of your vacation. For the amount of money you would spend for hotel accommodations, you could make reservations at some beach rentals and have a ton of money left over so you can purchase souvenirs.

When you are making your vacation plans, don’t forget to think about the other ways that staying at beach rentals can make your trip more enjoyable. For starters, you could get firsthand experience as a tourist. You don’t have to travel around in taxis or rental cars since you will be living in the heart of it all. You could simply walk to your destinations. You can try more of the local food and save a fortune by cooking instead of ordering out. You can also blend in more with the locals and put more things to do on your itinerary.

Beach rentals make it possible for you to bring more people on your vacation. Instead of trying to figure out how you are going to find a place cheap enough for everyone to stay in, you can make accommodations at beach rentals. They are spacious, and you are not charged for each room or individual. Therefore you have more privacy and you can still enjoy the same comforts as home. You also have more flexibility over where you can stay and over how far you are from the hottest tourist spots. You’d be surprised at how inexpensive it is to stay in places other than hotels.

These places can help you have more fun and get more value out of your vacation than any other type of living arrangements. They are one of the most cost effective ways to take a vacation, especially if you are on a budget. Talk to a travel agent or start your search early so you can take advantage of the best places and rates in the market. See what you have been missing out on and how much more you and your family can get the most of the trip.

Rehabilitation – There Is Support Available to Help You Beat That Addiction

No one ever said trying to come clean and overcome your addiction would be easy. In fact, it is one of the biggest obstacles you will face on a daily basis in order for you to remain sane and normal. Even though you may have felt alone while you were going through the addiction phase, there is help and support available during your recovery. That is why you should take advantage of the services that are offered at a rehabilitation center.

There is so much at stake when you make the decision to become sober and take back control of your life. Even though this situation will make you one of the strongest people in the world, it will also make you the most vulnerable. You are going to need more than the love and support of your friends and family to rise to this challenge. You will need the skill, expertise and professional services of the staff at a rehabilitation center.

Keep in mind that the path to overcoming addictions is not completely the same for all substances that are abused. In addition to needing counseling, you can also benefit from group therapy sessions with your peers that are going through the same thing that you are. It is important for you to know that you are not alone and no matter what stage you are at in the process, there is help and support available.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you don’t need help or can get through this trying time in your life alone. No matter how you got into this situation, you will need some type of assistance getting out of it. Beating an addiction is not something that once you stop taking the substance you are cured. It is a continuous and daily struggle that you will have to fight for the rest of your life. It is important for you to learn more about what caused you to resort to abusing. This means that you will need to get more in tune with yourself. You will need to get help so you can become healthy mentally and physically.

When it comes to choosing a rehabilitation center, you have two choices. You can choose to enroll in a day center or a residential center. If you have allowed your addiction to make you lose control of your life and you can barely make it through the day without thinking about your indulging in your addiction, then you may need to be under constant supervision. A residential rehabilitation center may be best for you. If you are currently struggling with an addiction, but are still able to maintain to work or handle some of your obligations, a day center may be what you need. No matter what type of rehabilitation you choose to got, you will receive the help and support you need to regain control over your life and fight your addiction.

A Guide To Redesigning Your Used Caravan’s Interior

Have you ever spent a weekend or even a week travelling around the coast or countryside in a caravan, experiencing all the sights and sounds that our wonderful country has to offer? This is a fantastic way to travel – not only can you take along as many of your own possessions as you like, you will be able to prepare and cook your own meals (helping you to save some money). The only complaint that most travelers appear to have is that their used caravans have quite outdated interiors.

Fortunately, this is a problem that can easily be fixed, allowing you to get on with your travels as soon as possible. And, luckily for you, redesigning the interior of your used caravan could not be any easier. Using the following tips, you can rest assured that your van is perfectly suited to your needs and that you are able to travel in comfort.

  • As caravans only have a small amount of space, you should be aiming for as clutter free a design as possible. Make sure that there is plenty of cupboard space so that you can hide away all of the mess.
  • Opt for a darker colour scheme, as this won’t need to be cleaned as often and will not show up the dirt (especially with your carpet). Vinyl or laminate can be a good choice around the doorway for those muddier times of the year.
  • Add a mirror or two onto the walls, as this can help the space to feel much larger. This is especially useful if your used caravan is lucky enough to be fitted with a bathroom, which are notoriously small.
  • Consider covering your windows with roller blinds, as these have a simple design that won’t detract from the clutter-free appearance of your space and they are relatively maintenance free. Black out blinds are also a good choice if you like to sleep in.
  • Choose one brighter colour that you can use an accent, then begin using it in small amounts throughout the used caravan. A touch here and there is often enough to brighten the space up.
  • Give your caravan some small, home-y touches that will make your travels (especially long ones) much more enjoyable. Hang a clock on the wall over the kitchen area, for example, or put some photo frames on display. You could also use bedspreads instead of sleeping bags.

If you find the interior of your used caravan completely unsuitable for your needs, you might like to completely gut the space and start again. Not only will this enable you to update the space, it will enable you to design it according to your own needs. Perhaps you want some bunk beds for the kids or you want to make the living area smaller – it’s up to you.

Panama 2009 – My First Adventure Outside the USA

In the summer of 2009 I made my first trip outside of the Country. At the ripe age of 39, I boarded a plane and headed to Central America. I’d never been though customs, immigration and had a naked passport. I wondered if the representative at the desk would question where I’d been for the previous 39 years, thankfully he didn’t.

Confession Time – I immediately fell in love with the thrill of landing in a foreign location and soaking up all the ambiance. I fell in love with the fun of working remotely from an exotic destination and even the thought that only my team knew where I was and the clients I chatted with had no idea.

My loving and fun guide on this adventure was my fantastic partner, Tomie who had previously visited Panama on several occasions. While this was my first trip, I’d been there many times in books, magazines and via the web. I began to look at moving to Panama when after the summer of 2004 in Central Florida I endured weeks with no power after 3 hurricanes visited. Shortly after that summer I learned that there were no hurricanes in Panama, plenty of infrastructure, friendly people and warm weather.

We ventured into the old City of Casco Viejo, out to the beaches of Santa Clara and into the jungle 3 hours down a winding road from Santiago. We boarded a speed boat and enjoyed an entire day and night out on Tobaga Island. From the condo we stayed in we could see the ships as they waited in line to go through the Panama Canal. While on the island we enjoyed an entire Saturday and Sunday with no internet, it was absolutely liberating.

In 7 days we ate, drank, swam in the ocean, enjoyed siestas and made some new friends. We happily lived without our Blackberries, or as I use to call them, Crackberries. Oddly enough the first two days without checking the silly thing to see if someone sent me an email was tough, then well it was actually liberating. Along the way we enjoyed wifi at most hotels, I was easily able to connect with my team, answer client questions and even make phone calls.

I learned a valuable lesson that I don’t think I could have here in the states where my phone easily let’s me get interrupted all day long. I learned that while I’m pretty important to some people, everyone who wanted to connect with me had no problem waiting a few hours or even until the next day or so to get a reply. Not responding with in seconds or minutes to an email didn’t make the earth spin out of control or my business to suffer. It actually helped me gain focus, clarity and some much needed relaxation.

Fearing the unknown often times keeps us stuck, makes it impossible for us to enjoy the life we truly want. Life is meant for us to enjoy it ~ so make a list of the places you want to visit, the things you want to do and start doing them.

Building a Drug-Free Environment for Teenagers

Teenagers fall prey to using illicit drugs because they are tempted to try these drugs. They believe that taking such drugs will help them attain pleasure and stay active. Unfortunately, they are unaware of the negative effects of using drugs on health and are putting their lives at risk.

Drug abuse is harmful for teenagers:

The harmful consequences of teen drug abuse include increased risk of getting addicted to drugs later in life. Since their body and mind is still in a developing stage, their health can seriously get affected by drug abuse.

Short-term consequences of drug abuse include blurred vision, nausea, glazed eyes, increased fatigue, sudden weight loss or weight gain, mood swings, etc. Long-term consequences include kidney, lung and liver failure, brain damage and high blood pressure leading to heart attack, stroke and death.

Most common drugs used by teens:

There are different types of illicit drugs that are generally used by teens. These drugs are very harmful and may lead to serious health problems. You need to know them to protect your teen from drug abuse.

Some commonly abused drugs include

•Alcohol
•Tobacco products
•Marijuana
•Cocaine
•Heroin
•Inhalants
•Ecstasy
•Prescription drugs
•Hallucinogens
•Methamphetamine

Parents and school/college authorities should keep an eye on teens:

Adolescence is a stage in life when significant changes in body and mind occur. Teens find it a pleasure in taking any kind of risk. If they are with the wrong crowd, they can get into drug abusing habit. Therefore, parents and school/college authorities should monitor their teens’/students’ behavior. If they notice that the teen is gradually changing his or her behavior, immediately take necessary action.

Some common behavioral changes

•Fall in academics
•Rebellious behavior
•Change in friends
•Change in appetite
•Lying to get away with things
•Neglecting physical appearance
•Unexplained need for money

Parents and school/college authorities should watch out for these changes. If they do notice any of these changes, they need to confirm the drug abuse. For this they can take help of drug testing kits. Once drug abuse is confirmed they need to speak to their children.

Initially, if parents get to know that their teen is abusing drugs, they should talk to him/her and explain the negative effects of drugs, because teens at a tender age are very rebellious. Parents, therefore, should handle the situation very carefully.

Even after the parents’ intervention, if the teen is adamant and does not want to mend his/her ways, it would be appropriate to take him/her either to a counselor or a rehab center.