My Story from the Front Lines of the American Heart Walk

My girlfriend was the picture of health. She worked out every day and ate the right things. In her mid-50’s she had a major stroke.

At first, I was mad. She had just been to the doctor for a physical checkup and was given a clean bill of health. She was far too young and her health was far too strong for her to have a stroke.

It was a long road back. She was forced to relearn simple things that we take for granted. Although she’s still partially paralyzed and unable to drive, I’ll always be grateful for one thing.

She lived.

This November, seven years after her stroke, I look forward to flying down to Florida to see my friend and going on a road trip through Savannah, Charleston and other places throughout the South. I don’t know if she would be here to enjoy this trip with me if it wasn’t for the incredible work of the American Heart Association. Continue reading

How Breathing Life into a Decrepit Bathroom Changed My World

BathroomTowards the end of my career in the glamorous world of New Jersey state government, I was moved back to the main office building where I started my career. In fact, it was the very same floor where I began working for the state 30 years earlier.

Although the building had been improved through major renovations over the years, I noticed a few things that bothered me.

First, I realized that the ladies’ restroom was exactly the same as it was when I was in high school! It even had the same big lounge chair that people would lie down on if they felt sick.

This whole scene made me a little sick. The entire bathroom was disgusting.

The next thing I noticed was that the women who used this ancient bathroom didn’t talk to each other. They didn’t even say “hello.” We saw each other all of the time, but we didn’t really know each other.

Even though I knew I was reaching the end of my rope with the state, I was determined to not let this situation bring me down any further. Continue reading

You’re Given Vacation Time for a Reason. Use it!

Parent and Daughter wading in oceanAt the beginning of the summer of 2013, I wrote a blog post about why you need to plan a vacation now. Now, with summer 2014 winding down, it looks like there will be a lot of vacation days left on the table. Again.

According to a study from GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications and the U.S. Travel Association, four in ten employees will not use all of their vacation days. And people wonder why they always feel tired and stressed.

So why aren’t people taking vacations?

  • 40 percent of respondents dread returning to a pile of work after vacation.
  • 35 percent say nobody else can do their job.
  • 20 percent are worried that taking time off will make them seem replaceable.

That last one infuriates me. People shouldn’t feel like their jobs could be jeopardized because they take a week for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, this type of insecurity is often driven by the company culture. Continue reading

What Is the Deal-Breaker that Causes You to Quit Your Job?

What is the Deal-Breaker that Causes You to Quit Your Job?Towards the end of my career in state government, I was forced to take a pay cut. After 30 years on the job, civil service decided my job title didn’t match my job description. As much as I felt like I was being screwed, it was something else that put me over the edge.

The way I and other employees were treated by management ultimately made me decide to move on. We were micromanaged. There was no flexibility. Even in this age of productivity-enhancing technology, management was clinging to this “be at your desk from 9 to 5” mentality.

My experience mirrors the results of a recent study from BambooHR, a human resources software provider. Not surprisingly, the most common reason for leaving a job is career advancement.

However, the biggest deal-breakers that affect employee happiness and retention were all related to work-life balance. The top four deal-breakers were: Continue reading

What You Should Know if You Plan to Hire a Handyman

HandymanFixIts

Handyman services are becoming more and more popular in New Jersey as homeowners seek to save time and money on repairs and upgrades. If you need to replace a window, repair a fence, fix a few loose tiles on the bathroom floor and paint the living room, a good handyman should be able to handle all of these tasks.

However, you need to be very careful about who you hire to perform work in and around your home. Here are three key points to keep in mind. Continue reading

To Delegate or Not to Delegate? “When” Is the Question

A few weeks ago, I received a call from one of our regular clients with a very simple task. She needed someone to go to her mother’s house, pick up a diamond ring, and bring it to her so she could wear it for a special event.
A simple task, but with high stakes. Let’s just say the diamond ring wasn’t purchased for a few hundred bucks at a pawn shop. That’s why I decided to handle this errand myself.

diamondring

There are certain tasks that you need to do yourself. Others can be delegated. But when should you delegate, and when should you do it yourself?

From an economic perspective, some will say it pays to delegate when you can make more in the time you save than the amount you pay the person who saves you that time. That could mean hiring someone full-time, part-time or per project.

In other words, if hiring someone for $100 allows you to make $200, you delegate.

But the decision to delegate isn’t as simple as managing time and money. That’s why so many people struggle with delegation.

For example, if you choose not to delegate and end up in a lousy mood all of the time because you overwork yourself, wouldn’t you say it’s worth it to delegate more often?

In the example I mentioned previously, my client couldn’t be bothered with that kind of task. It takes her away from her job and adds to her stress level.

From my perspective, I didn’t decide to pick up and deliver that diamond ring because delegating would have cost me money. I did it myself because the stakes were high and I felt more comfortable taking care of it myself.

In this case, delegating would have stressed me out.

Of course, some people take this too far. They try to do everything by themselves because they’re incapable of turning over any kind of responsibility to someone else. Maybe they’re impatient, they were burned in the past, or they believe in the old “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” mantra.

The problem with that thought process is that it’s difficult if not impossible to break the do-everything-yourself cycle because you never make any progress.

These are my general rules of thumb for delegation:

From a business standpoint, if you devote too much time to simply keeping the lights on and not enough time on strategic growth initiatives, you need to delegate.

Day-to-day administrative tasks and maintenance should not prevent you from growing your business. Also, keep in mind that delegation enables employees to gain experience and expand and improve their skills. The more they learn, the more responsibility they can assume, and the more value they bring to your company.

From a personal standpoint, if your to-do list is so long and time-intensive that it prevents you from doing the things you enjoy and seeing the people you love, you need to delegate. What makes you happier, going to your child’s soccer game or grocery shopping for your elderly parents?

If you need to delegate a task or errand, or you need help deciding which tasks and errands should be delegated, contact us at Time Well Spent. Our goal is to help you make every minute as valuable and enjoyable as possible.

 

 

5 Ways to Become a Smarter Packer for Your Next Vacation

GirlSuitcase For most of us, the worst part of going on vacation is trying to get work done and dealing with the monstrous pile of work that will await us when we return. The second worst part of going on vacation is the packing. Fortunately, packing doesn’t have to be as difficult or stressful as we make it out to be, especially if we make technology our friend and think a little differently than we have in the past. Here are five tips that will make life much easier as you get ready to fly, drive or set sail on your next getaway.

  1. Use a packing app.
  2. A packing app does more than enable you to edit and add to a list while on the go. By sharing lists with fellow travelers and checking off items, you’ll avoid duplicate items. Also, you can create separate lists for each bag, so if a bag is lost or stolen, you have an exact inventory to report to the insurance company. Some apps will even create a starter list for you based on who is travelling and the type of destination (weather, domestic or foreign, etc.). Packing Pro and Triplist are two popular packing apps.

  3. Roll your clothes.
  4. Clothes tend to fit better in your suitcase, especially tight spaces, and wrinkle less if you roll them into tube shapes instead of folding them. If you can do a load of laundry or two while on vacation, you can save even more space and leave room for souvenirs.

  5. Pack outfits, not individual garments.
  6. This is especially valuable for kids. Instead of bringing a certain amount of shirts, pants, socks and underwear, pack full outfits in large sealable bags. You can even label each bag (dinner outfit, amusement park, beach, etc.)

  7. Use TSA-approved locks.
  8. If your baggage is opened for a random search and has a Transportation Security Association- (TSA) approved lock, TSA personnel can open it with a universal key. Otherwise, the lock may be cut off, and you’ll be left with unlocked baggage for the rest of your trip.

  9. Know the rules.
  10. What does your airline charge for baggage? Do you know the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage? If you’re driving, does your destination allow rooftop carriers? A few minutes of research can help you save a lot of money and avoid major headaches.

    What are your tips for smart packing? Share them here!

This entry was posted on June 24, 2014. 1 Comment