I was off to the airport on another trip. I started out early, arrived at the airport on time, but when I arrived the plane had canceled and I had to apply for another plane. The next plane headed for my destination was about two hours away. This would, in fact, make me miss my connecting flight.
I suppose I ought to be grateful that I was able to catch a later flight. It gave me some time to sit in the airport with nothing to do but think. Talk about a boring afternoon!
One of the things I thought about was never flying again. But, necessity is the mother of inconvenience, or something like that.
While I was thinking in the airport, I thought of a wise old man who, waxing philosophical, once said, “Time waits for no man.” I know he was wise because he did not include women in his observation. Although time will wait for no man, it has a different approach to women.
Usually speaking, a man welcomes the passing of time. Proudly he displays those wrinkles and calluses as marks of manhood. Until recently, gray hair was a crown of authority. Even Solomon, the wisest man said, “The hoary [gray] head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31 KJV).
The grayer the head, the wiser the man. Although, I must confess I have seen my share of intelligence-challenged gray-headed men.
A woman, however, has an altogether different philosophy when it comes to time. As a man with gray hair, I do not fully understand their philosophy.
I suppose there are some men who would like to be 25 again. Most men, however, are happy to be as old as they are. Women are different. They live upon the concept of ageless beauty. Who am I, as a man, to counter that philosophy?
I discovered this many years ago. A woman casually asked me how old I thought she was. I have long since discovered that this is no casual question and she is not looking for exact information. I, at the time, took it as a challenge and tried to guess her age.
I have since learned that the correct response to this question is, “Why, you don’t look a day over 25.” I do not know exactly what that means, but I have often gotten smiles from this response. No matter how old the woman is, in her mind she is still 25.
The man has a different idea. Read More→
Time. It’s a bitter word in my family. My husband, who is an architect who works from home, never thinks that there is enough of it. And I’m pretty good at wasting it. He loses track of time and I sometimes get caught up in avoidance behaviors and don’t use it wisely.
But in the Psalms, the Bible says to number our days. We all are given 24 hours in a day and seven days a week. How can we make the most of it?
Here’s some tips and tricks that have helped me that could help you:
Pomodoro is a system of earning “tomatoes.” In this system, you set a timer for 20 minutes, then take a five minute break. You do this three more times, then you take a 15 minute break. After that, you start all over. It’s a system to be followed throughout the work day and helps you to focus completely on a task yet give you the breaks you need.
Pomodoro accessories include a timer shaped like a tomato and yes, there’s also an App for that! I have it on my iPhone, and when I find myself not able to focus I open the App and start clocking my time. I also do this for my son to help him focus on his homeschooling.
I love the App because you actually earn “tomatoes” for every 20 minute session you complete. Just think of the rewards you can give yourself! It’s better than getting stickers!
2) Listening to Music While Working
This has got to be my favorite productivity hack. Even now, I am listening to “The Hobbit” soundtrack. I find movie soundtracks particularly inspiring. I have listened to Jonsi’s “We Bought a Zoo,” “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Glory,” and more.
When you really need to think, (writing, for instance), listening to orchestral music without words seems to be the most inspiring and helps me to focus. Music with lyrics is not as helpful to me because the words get distracting.
So crank up the stereo or plug in your iPod and get to listening! There’s something about music that helps tremendously with productivity! Read More→
While not quite as big as Facebook, Twitter is still an impressive social media platform with a lot of potential for your business. With over 1.3 billion registered users, and an average of 500 million tweets per day, there’s a lot of activity going on with this platform.
If you’ve tried using Twitter before, you may have noticed how quickly anything you say gets lost in the noise. To help your business stand out and gain followers, today I’m going to show you how and when you should be posting on Twitter.
5 Twitter Tips to Help You Tweet Smarter, Not Harder
The act of posting a tweet is simple, but there are numerous implications. How long should it be? Which hashtags should you use? All of these things, combined with the day and time you post, will affect how many people see and engage with your tweets.
Here are five ways you can start using Twitter smarter and do more with your tweets:
1. Gather Data on When to Tweet
You could always conduct your own studies, but there have been plenty done already on when to tweet, so it’s better to use the information others have already found. For example, Buffer did a study of over 4.8 million tweets to see which times were the best.
Here’s what they found:
- On average, tweets posted during the morning hours have the most clicks.
- Evenings are when tweets receive more favorites and retweets.
- Time zones play a factor, and sometimes the best times to tweet for engagement and clicks are opposite from one another.
- Taking time zones into consideration, the best time to tweet is between noon and 1PM for your local time zone.
- If you have an international audience, it’s best to look at what times they are tweeting in their time zone.
This type of data is great for starting out, but eventually you’ll want to gather your own. Luckily there are tools for that purposes. Tweriod, for example, is an excellent option (also free) that allows you to see when your followers are online and engaging with tweets.
2. Use The Right Hashtags
Hashtags, also known as pound signs (#) are used on Twitter to categorize your tweets. Using them can offer you an excellent way to gather your audience around a single conversation or event. Of course, the only way to be successful with these types of tags, is to know how to best choose them. Read More→
Many of my clients are able to tell me what they want with one caveat – they do not know how to get it done or how to make it happen. As a virtual assistant it is my job to figure it out – freeing up my client’s time on revenue generating tasks.
Over the years of making things happen and figuring things out, I have picked up a few programs here and there and want to share them with you. These are programs that, for whatever purpose, have stuck with me and I continue to use today.
Adobe PDF Reader – So many files these days arrive as PDF’s. How do you read PDF’s if you don’t have the Adobe suite? Easy, you download the reader.
Skype – With Skype, you are able not only to host chats and conference calls with clients and potential clients, but you also are able to host video conference calls and even share your screen and show what you are talking about, whether giving a presentation or walking someone through a process step by step.
jZip – Often times files grow and need to be ‘zipped’ to be saved and/or transmitted electronically. There are many zip programs out there to purchase but I was keeping a close eye on my bottom dollar and found jZip which could do what the other programs did…without the expensive price tag.
FileZilla FTP Client – In working with your clients online you may find that you have to upload or download something from their FTP site. How do you do that without an FTP client? I find that of the available FTP clients online, FileZilla is the easiest and most straightforward software. Read More→
I am always super sensitive about my breath. I try to take care of it, but at times, I’m a little bit off schedule. I really do not know when my breath is really bad.
For me, I only know my breath is bad when the person standing in front of me passes out.
It is rather embarrassing to have bad breath, particularly when you are in the company of very sophisticated people. I have bad breath all the time because of my great delight in eating cheese. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage warns me all the time that eating cheese will create bad breath. I know she is right, but cheese is very delicious.
I was boarding an airplane to travel north when the thought struck me that I had eaten a block of cheese before I got to the airport. I was wondering if my breath smelled bad or not. I tried to test it on myself but it never registered with my nose.
I know I have a nose, but my nose does not know when to smell anything. The only thing my nose does for me is sneeze, particularly when I am not prepared. So, I can’t smell things the way my wife does. She can smell an odor seven days before it is produced!
How she does that I will never know and at my stage in life I am never going to ask her.
According to her, bad breath is always bad, which is why they call it “bad breath.” My contention is, bad is a relative thing. One person smells one way, another person smells the other way and the twain shall never collide. What is bad for one person may not be bad for another person.
I have a habit of nibbling on cheese. At times, my wife thinks that I am just a mouse. Actually, she uses the word “rat,” but that is a different story. I just love cheese. When I come home the first thing I do is go to the refrigerator, get out a block of cheese, slice it, go sit down and enjoy nibbling on that cheese never concerned about the bad breath it might create.
My wife is very conscious of this and always carries with her a packet of breath mints. Whenever she offers me a breath mint, I know that she smells my bad breath. I take a breath mint just to console her, but it really does not make any difference to me.
My contention is, bad breath isn’t always that bad. Read More→
Our natural tendency is to see our flaws – talk about them – expound on them – belittle ourselves and compare ourselves to others. We look at someone else and greatly admire their abilities but fail to see what they admire in is because we have taken out strengths for granted.
This turns to negative self talk. Mentally- internally we are constantly telling ourselves how we want to be better and to do better but we are capitalizing on the wrong thing – on our weakness rather than our strength.
We live in a culture where everyone is trying to become well rounded. In child rearing we give each kid so many opportunities to succeed and put so much before them so they have an opportunity to be whatever they want. But the truth is God didn’t create them to be whatever they want. He gifted them with particular strengths and talents which can be used for His glory.
When we have a strength in one area it is ok to not be that great in another.
Embracing our weakness with grace gives us the ability to accept who God has made us unique.
For example I have been in business for 9 years now. I had been sewing since I was a child and had been encouraged to start a sewing business so I could peruse my dream of being a stay at home mom (at such a time as God blessed us with children). When I first started the business I thought I would capitalize on making clothing. During my teen years I would make myself a dress or some kind of clothing every school holiday or summer vacation. Within the first several years of sewing professionally I had some requests for custom clothing, however at the end of each completed project I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction with the finished product. At the same time I began getting an increase in alterations – prom dresses, men’s suit jackets, new zippers. As I took each piece apart I loved carefully observing how it was put together so that I could reconstruct it back to the original state after the alteration. Often clients were bringing me pieces that they felt horrible in because the clothing was so ill fitting and it was with great satisfaction that I saw them in my finished work which fit perfectly for them!
My strength here was my analytical brain and my desire to help people. I found that I could be more helpful altering their current articles of clothing than I could be in making them new pieces.
For a while I focused on my weakness. I spoke to myself negatively saying “I just need to study clothing construction more, I just need more practice, maybe I am just in the wrong line of work.” I remember the feelings of anxiety and depression that clouded my thoughts concerning my work. Read More→
Quick Preamble: The organic flow of kids
I didn’t have personal experience with social interaction much as a kid. I grew up in an Amish area, and the nearest neighbor with a child my age was miles away (several cornfields at least). So, I had to learn much of the information on dealing with neighborhood kids, visiting friends, having ‘play-dates’ through my kids and trying to navigate the experience as a parent. The good thing, is that our family will routinely have ‘pow-wows’ to discuss how to handle social issues. Much of the ideas in this article and others in this series involving ‘other people’ were developed from meeting as a family and discussing how best to handle each experience.
Ok, back to our previously scheduled blog article . . .
Knocking: Essential to relationships. And just like other activities that involve others, there are some manners and ethics to knocking. I’ll cover just a few in this article:
- Don’t be afraid to knock
- Be safe to knock
- Don’t knock at 7am
- Jesus knocks
Don’t be afraid to knock. Sometimes my kids would want to fill out a street-kickball game, but they needed a few more players.
Me: Why don’t you ask Kyle?
Kids: He’s usually playing x-box
Me: Did you actually ask him?
Kids: But there are no cars in his drive.
Me: [leveled stare]
Kids: Fine, we’ll ask him.
Minutes later Kyle has been shooed out by his parents to get some sunshine and he is standing on second base (which happens to be a pile of leaves they put in the road).
Sometimes people need to be asked. Some people even need to be approached and asked to be involved. Our world is full of loneliness and people that are disconnected. Knocking on a door to ‘hang out’ and/or ‘play’ isn’t that tough – the worst someone could say is, “no.” Read More→