Most of us find that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. One way to combat this is to make more efficient use of the time we do have available. Depending on where you work and your agreed-upon schedule, you may have anywhere from 30-60 minutes for your lunch break. If it’s only a half hour, that doesn’t leave you with much time to do more than eat. However, if you have an hour, that leaves you with a good 30 minutes that you can also use for other things you wish to accomplish. Here are three suggestions on how you can spend that extra time productively:
If your company has a gym on site, go and use the tread mill or get on an exercise bike. No equipment on-site? Get that 30 minutes of recommended daily walking in. If you like to jog, go for a short one around the area. A change of scenery will probably help you be more productive after lunch.
Don’t just sit in the cafeteria for an hour. Make more productive use of your lunchtime!
Don’t get to spend enough time outdoors with your current schedule? Try eating outside for a change. If your company does not have an outside seating area, bring a blanket and have a picnic with your co-workers. Sunshine and fresh air are very good for you; this allows you to get in your daily quota and can help revitalize you for the afternoon.
Stop Looking at Screens
The average American and Canadian spends an inordinate amount of time each day looking at screens: smartphone, computer, tablet, TV, etc. Give your eyes a well-deserved break during lunch and read a book, go for a walk, meditate…do something different that will help both mind and body decompress.
There are certain aspects of having a job that are very straightforward: you need to show up at a certain time, you have certain deadlines to meet, you must be respectful to your colleagues, etc.
Then there are other aspects that are not so cut and dried. One of these is how to ask for a raise. It can be a nerve-wracking decision because you don’t always know what is going on with the company’s finances or just how favorable your supervisors view you.
If you think the time has come to ask for a raise, here are some tips on how to go about it:
Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?
In general, you really only expect to get a raise once per year. If you just had one six months ago, you really should wait awhile before seeking another.
What Kind of Person is Your Boss?
Is your supervisor the type of person who always believes in getting to the point? Or is he or she someone that you need to approach in a gradual, thoughtful way that allows you to reinforce your value to the company in their mind? Knowing how to initiate the topic increases both your confidence and chances for success.
Have a Figure in Mind
You probably have an idea regarding how much more you would like to be making, but is it realistic? Your company may be doing well enough, but is it doing so well that you think it’s reasonable to ask for another $5 an hour? Choose a figure that is between the top end of what you would like to make and the minimum you would need to continue working there.
These are the basic steps. Try to ask for a raise before your next review as it will likely be too late for that calendar year if you wait until after. Good luck!
Getting out of bed in the morning can be a real chore for some people…and I’m really not in a position to criticize anyone in that camp. As I get up in years, and a night’s sleep becomes less and less satisfying, mornings are more likely to elicit a groan than a smile.
It’s always good to have a steady routine as they helps to keep you on track. That routine needs to consist of positive and productive things, of course. Have trouble getting motivated in the morning? Here are some things you should start doing:
Get Up Early and Always at the Same Time
I can feel some of you wanting to check out already, but there is really some good thinking in this approach. It’s simple: the more time you have in the morning, the more productive you can be. Getting up at the same time everyday helps your body adjust to that inevitability and can improve the quality of your sleep.
Leave the Coffee and Go for Water
Yes, caffeine gives you that boost, but we all know it’s addictive. Try to ween yourself off of coffee and other caffeinated beverages in exchange for good old fashioned water. H2O re-hydrates you and that helps your body function at its peak; coffee actually does the opposite.
Exercise Before Work
This is another great way to clear your head and energize your body before the rigors of the day. And doing it before work ensures that it gets done.
Make Your Bed
As a child, this always seemed especially pointless to me: who other than me will see my messy bed? The point is that it actually helps to make you more organized. Also, at the end of a long and busy day, it’s more appealing to climb into a fresh and tidy bed than some sloppy mess.
It’s time to re-discover Canada in honour of our nations 150th birthday. If you’re looking for sun and sand there’s never been a better time to visit Canada’s Ocean Playground: Nova Scotia. Located in eastern Canada, the province of Nova Scotia is almost completely surrounded by sea. There is something for everyone in Nova Scotia, so while you’re daydreaming of the clean salty air and falling into rhythm with the sea – we’ve curated a list of some of the best attractions.
Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk – No trip to Halifax is complete without a stroll down the Waterfront Boardwalk where you will find adorable little shops, plenty of seafood options and an incredible view!
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse – The Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is located in the small rural community of Peggy’s Cove located on the eastern shore of St. Margaret’s Bay. Enjoy great seafood, beautiful gifts and an incredible view of waves crashing at the foot of the lighthouse.
The Cabot Trail – Located on Cape Breton Island the Cabot Trail is considered one of the world’s most scenic destinations with stunning ocean vistas, old-growth forests, prehistoric rock scarred by glaciers, and the mysterious Cape Breton Highlands.
Town of Lunenburg – Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for it’s waterfront, colourful buildings and rum running past. Lunenburg is also home port of Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II.
Halifax Public Gardens – Stop and smell the roses at Halifax Public Gardens, one of the finest surviving examples of Victorian gardening. These historic gardens were established in 1867, the year of the Canadian Confederation.
Citadel Hill – Located in Halifax, Citadel Hill is an important part of Nova Scotia’s history. On your visit you can explore the history of the fortress and the soldiers who were stationed there.
Airplanes are the preferred mode of transportation these days, but I use the word “preferred” in the sense that flying is the fastest way to get somewhere. There are so many downsides to flying, from the cost to the hassle to the cramped conditions to the terrible behaviour of other passengers.
I want my next trip to be the one that finally introduces me to parts of Canada I have never seen. To do that, I’m going to give VIA Rail a call.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider a train instead for your next holiday:
Scenery. Plane trips are too short to enjoy the view and the view is usually just a lot of clouds that look the same anyway.
Price. Rail fare is much cheaper and that leaves you with more money to spend on fun things on your trip (or you could just leave more in the bank).
No airport security. I’m sure there have been instances of train hijackings, but I can’t think of any offhand. No one misses going through airport security. No one.
Bring your own food and beverages. Train station prices are usually nowhere near as bad as stores at airports. You can also just bring along your own food and drink (within reason – don’t show up with an XL pizza).
More room and more comfort. While trains can vary, chances are your seat provides more leg room and overall comfort that you will likely get from your plane seat.
Get up and move. Unless the train is packed, you can always get up and change seats to avoid annoying pests. Rarely can you do that in the air.
Your luggage will almost certainly arrive with you. Wouldn’t that be nice? How often do you hear about bags getting lost during train travel?
It doesn’t seem that long ago when shopping malls were the hub of consumer activity. As time went on, they got bigger and bigger, offering all manner of stores and allowing people to get a great deal of their shopping done in one place. You could shop, get something to eat, see a movie, and then do some more shopping on your way out.
Every city and many small towns added shopping malls, but their dominance has slipped in recent years. Online shopping has created major changes in the way that people buy their goods. It’s hard to argue with the thought of being able to sit at home in front of your computer ordering things that you would previously have driven across town (or further) to get. Amazon is the online shopping giant and if one had to put a name to the enemy of shopping mall prosperity, it’s as good as any.
So, is the demise of the mall inevitable? Not as far as mall owners are concerned. They are trying to come up with reasons and experiences that will justify getting people off their couches. These include entertainment options that allow parents and children to spend time together, as well as ways for mom and dad to have someone watch the kids so they can do some quiet, relaxed shopping together.
Instead of just a collection of fast food options at the food court, some malls are courting high end restaurants as a way of restoring the mall’s image as a respected place in the community, rather than a spot for teens to hang out.
While anchor stores are still seen as a key way of luring people in, the plan is also to provide a more diverse selection of tenants not typically found in shopping malls. These include specialized businesses that one often has to journey downtown to patronize.
Malls are also making greater use of social media as a way of engaging with customers and creating loyalty. This inspires people to make the mall the first place that comes to mind when they need something.
Online shopping may be an unstoppable juggernaut at this point, but these tactics do seem to be having an effect at slowing things down a little. Time will tell, but I can’t see malls ever dying off completely.
Sure, we have all fantasized about it: the impulse purchase of a $5 lottery ticket at the grocery store turns out to be an action that changes your life forever. You now have all the money you need to fulfill those long-held fantasies and help out all of your friends and family.
But have you ever sat down and thought what it would be like to win…and then take the next steps? Here are some of the things that previous big winners have done:
Money management. Yes, you will now have a lot of money, but you have to think long and hard about what to do with it. You can’t just shove millions of dollars into a basic savings account. Should you invest? If so, how? How will you save the money? How much money can your local financial institution even hold for you and insure? Make an appointment with a financial planner…before you cash the ticket in.
Unwanted attention. It’s a shame that big winners are announced in the press because that guarantees they will be besieged by people, some legit and some not, asking them for a piece of that jackpot. If you are a very private person, this can be quite disturbing and stressful. Even if you aren’t, it’s still a major pain. Fortunately, some areas allow winners to remain anonymous.
Don’t go on a spending spree, but do pay off your debts. It can be tempting to go nuts with your newfound wealth, but you should instead set limits on how much you can spend in a day, a week, a month, and a year. One thing you should definitely put cash towards are your debts: wipe them out for good.
Investigate inheritance tax. Look into what the laws are in your area. Everyone wants to leave money to their friends and family, but how much will the government take? Are there ways to minimize that?
Continuing doing some kind of work. You may be overjoyed to quit your job, but do try to keep busy in some way once all of the dust has settled. If you don’t need income anymore, volunteering is an excellent way to give back.
At one point in time, cruises were simply a means of island-hopping around the Caribbean. Today, cruises offer a multi-dimensional vacation for those looking to discover exotic destinations and adventure. In recent years, cruise lines have increased industry standards with extravagant new vacations. If your still not convinced, here are a few reasons why your next holiday should be a cruise!
One of the great things about cruises is that all costs are consolidated into one price. Typically, accommodations, transportation, meals – and sometimes even airfare are all bundled into one price. This helps diminish the stress of spending more on a vacation than originally planned. But, of course – there is always the option to upgrade throughout the course of your trip.
Another great thing about going on a cruise is that you only need to unpack once. Forget about lugging your luggage from airport to airport, train station to train station and unpacking at every new location. Once you’re aboard the cruise ship you can settle in and start vacationing right away.
One of the most taxing things about vacationing is the amount of travel time, especially when you have multiple destinations. Forget about travel time when cruising, you can unwind on the ship while you’re carried off to your next destination in style. Cruises take all of the stress out of traveling from place to place while on vacation, so you can see and do more!
If you are looking to explore some of the most exotic foreign destinations, then a cruise is for you! Cruises remove obstacles that can make international vacation planning complicated – without the worry of visas, customs, transportation, or language barriers. From water to land, you can follow English-speaking tour guides through some of the most exotic places. Although this may be less authentic then visiting these places on your own – it is the perfect option for someone with limited time or funds.
Finally, the greatest things about going on a cruise is the ability to see so much of the world in such a short period of time.
“If man was meant to fly, he would have wings!” You may have heard that before. Or, if you are afraid to fly, you might even have used it as an excuse. Actually, if flying is not your thing, do not feel bad. Aviophobia is quite common, so much so that there are a number of solutions available that will help you to overcome this.
If you would like to go on a trip, but are fearful of getting on that plane, here are some suggestions:
Educate yourself. Yes, plane crashes are terrible things and when they happen, they receive a great deal of media coverage. However, the simple fact is they don’t happen very often. An article in The Guardian listed the stats and it works out to one accident per 2.4 million flights.
Talk to a therapist. Your fear of flying may be part of a general anxiety issue that will fade if you can get that under control. Therapists will talk with you about the problem and offer methods that will help reduce your anxiety. This should also lead to you being more open to trying things that have intimidated you in the past. The therapist may also such widely effective techniques as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Hypnotherapy.
Try breathing exercises. Taking deep breaths can be very effective at lowering your blood pressure and inducing a sense of calm. Try combining this with a manta you can recite to yourself, such as “everything is fine.”
Sedatives. Ask your doctor if you are a good candidate for sedatives. Depending on how many times you will be flying, this may be a good temporary solution, but not one if you will be flying often. Also, do not rely on alcohol to calm you down and never mix sedatives with booze.
Have faith! As we mentioned above, this is a common phobia that many people conquer, so be sure to give one or more of these methods a try.
Did you have a fear of flying? What worked for you? What advice do you have for someone trying to overcome this? Let us know in the comments section!
Donald Trump’s presidency has been very polarizing and one of the issues receiving the most coverage is the Muslim travel ban. At first, the administration tried to camouflage the true reasons behind this proposal, but the president later flat out admitted it. Was this was an accident? Another example of Trump throwing his associates under the bus? Trump’s indisputable status as a pathological liar? Who knows at this point?
What is very clear is that the travel ban is extremely prejudicial and will likely not be effective (it doesn’t even target countries where Trump has business ties – gee, imagine that?). It is currently held up in the U.S. courts and appears to be a non-starter. Regardless, the fact that this administration considers it to be both a sensible and desirable policy is appalling. If you cannot vote in the United States, what can you do?
Foreign travel represents a huge source of income for America. In 2014 alone, almost 75 million foreigners visited the country. That is a huge number of hotel rooms, car rentals, restaurant visits, souvenir purchases, and related activities. No, you cannot help to vote Trump and his band of bigots out of office, but you can still vote with your wallet.
Quite simply, take your holiday this year somewhere else. Have you always wanted to visit Europe, but never got around to it? Book a flight to Florence instead of Florida. Skip Texas and visit Tokyo. Pass on Michigan and go to Madrid. Encourage your friends and relatives to follow suit and make their reasons known.
If you do decide to visit America in the next four years, stick to progressive states that rejected Trump: New York, California, New Mexico, Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois…these are all wonderful places to visit. Don’t feel powerless in the face of Trump. Do your part to help make his presidency untenable.
Do you love traditional lighthouses? Lake Huron has a number of beautiful examples, but the most lovely one resides on Chantry Island, which is just off the coast of Southampton, Ontario.
The lighthouse was constructed in the mid-1800s to combat the number of ships that had run aground in the area. For almost 100 years, various lighthouse keepers and their families lived on the island and ran it manually. The size of the island varies from year to year, corresponding with the water levels.
After an automatic system was installed, fewer people visited and the keeper’s quarters fell into disrepair and collapsed. Fortunately, the building has been beautifully restored and also includes examples of traditional furniture, clothing, and bedding that the occupants would have used.
The Canadian Wildlife Service declared Chantry Island a Federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary in 1957 in order to enhance the safety of the local bird population. This means that you cannot visit the island unless you are part of the official tour, which runs from the beginning of June through Labour Day each year.
For $30 per person, this boat tour of Chantry Island includes a trip up to the top of the lighthouse, a visit inside the restored keeper’s quarters, and an extensive history of the island. The volunteers running the tour are very friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to answer any questions. It is a popular attraction, so be sure to book your spot in advance.