How to create the ideal work life balance – post 2 – what is not needed ?

Listening to feedback on LinkedIn one of my friends stimulated a worthwhile topic.

When asked to do this that and the other for work, do we always consider the effects on our family?

When we commit to our children, do we always remember our commitments to our employer or business?

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Can we always succeed perfectly at both home and work, should we expect to fulfill all our commitments to both?

Is perfection needed – or should we just learn to accept that we should just do our best and be happy with the results?

So what is not needed?

One answer – perfection. Here’s a few tips on how to overcome being a perfectionist

Perfection is not needed, if we can see a way to get the balance right we can keep our jobs and have a fun family life.

Remember the five big f’s (fun, family, future, fitness and finance)

One of the feelings that trap us is the feeling of guilt that we put upon ourselves when we attempt to motivate ourselves to do the best, and strive for perfection. However, as my life has developed, and I have realized (not smugly) happily that I have a wonderful life, I’ve often asked myself why is my life this way? Truthfully, I’m lazy, I feel life, my time passing through me and many people just expend time without understanding that time is of real value. Everything else comes and goes, and can return, but time once spent goes forever. So learn to feel for that balance in your life, I cover time management in post 3. Is it more important to get a task done or look after your teeth … at 2.30 is your dentist appointment more important than just another task at home or work… find the balance.

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Next when you hear yourself think, “I’m not happy with that” … ask yourself “Why am I not happy with that, do I really need to alter the outcome?” A lot of times, we have just sprinkled unnecessary guilt upon a task or duty that need not be associated with it. Remember, that more time spent perfecting one thing is less time spent living your life doing another thing that you will also be sprinkling with guilt.

Often in life we react automatically to situations, we become desensitized to our own emotions. We become re-act-a-trons.

So when the boss asks you “Can you ….. ?”

Or when the family says “We need to …… “

Start applying that filter system to your thoughts so that you can decide what is right for your life before accepting an outside influence.

Remember, rushing around to everybody else’s beck and call will not necessarily bring you happiness, and most importantly it may not bring them happiness or their desired outcome either. Our job in life is to decide which actions are worth doing for both parties (ourselves and the other stakeholders in the action) be they our relatives, friends, colleagues, bosses, employers, employees or anyone else.

So … again … what is not needed ?

Another answer – Guilt – Guilt is not needed.

Rebekah talks of a “Trade Off” … what is meant by a trade off?

A trade off, is where you accept less than perfection on one thing to spend more of your efforts on another thing. Often there is a trade off between home life and work life. Have a look at time management (link further up in the post) and try to learn to say no, not now, or never to some things in your life. Consider delegating more, ask for more help in family tasks, find ways to reduce your load to enjoy your life.

So if you are considering accepting another piece of time consumption into your life, ask yourself, “will this cause a “trade off” ?”

If yes … this is your next question “should I, or am I willing to accept this use of my time? should I refuse ?”

Also try “Am I feeling guilty, and feeling emotionally blackmailed into doing this task?” then just keep asking yourself why, and whether you can alter this emotional view of this situation.

We all deserve a life that is fun, fulfilling, etc , but how often do we run through a process that in our heads allows us to make decisions that rush us towards real peace and happiness in our life.

We run our lives.

However, most people do not feel they control their lives.

If you feel the regret of the trade off, and the guilt of a lack of perfection then start to make changes to your decision making process, change how you think about work, home and the people in your life. Self awareness starts with a questioning mind. To be able to use your questioning ability, you will need to allow yourself the time. Will you ? Can you ? Why not … I took the time to write this because it mattered to a friend. I enjoyed it. I feel no guilt for spending 3 hours doing so, despite the fact our house needs many things, my life will be run by me. My priorities are clear to me … are you priorities clear to you? If not what is stopping you?

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Hope this helps, thank you Rebekah,

As ever, Simon

How to create the ideal work life balance – post 3 – time management

There are several things to consider in time management. This is a food for thought blog to help you to learn how to manage your time better to live a more rewarding and more simple life.

1. Self indulgence awareness

2. Discipline

3. Priorities

4. Short term vs long term

5. Systems

6. Learning to become happy with being lazy

7. Delegation and control

8. Automation

9. 3 filing trays

10. Saying no, not now, never, and reviews.

So starting with number 1. The first thing we must realize is that we often indulge ourselves with time wasting

and that is allowed, unless there are things we need to do or should be doing.

Games whilst on calls

I play this whilst talking on Skype – no loss of time – but I feel my life is more fun.

So the lesson here is to be aware of time passing through us. Everyone needs slack in their day, we cannot always be doing something we should be doing. The big lesson is to feel and find that balance between fun, family, finance, future, and fitness. (the five f’s)

As you feel that balance between the five f’s … start to be disciplined. Decide to become the best disciple of your future actions.

Number 2. Discipline :- Start by using lists, more in http://simonhamer.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/how-to-create-the-ideal-work-life-balance-post-1-keeping-lists/ 

and start to decide to keep records of what you need to do, now, later or not at all. Skip to 9. The 3 filing trays for more information.

Image from http://ideaspotters.blogspot.com

Time management - Blog

On to Number 3.  Priorities

What are your priorities?

I fully accept they differ from person to person and you must acknowledge that these change with your age, race, gender, religion, politics and ability.

At age 15, I only had one priority.  Aged 21, I finally learned another.

At age 26, I changed my priorities completely. (just smiled at this priority created nearly 30 years ago)

My point? Acknowledge that your priorities change and learn to manage your time to allow for the changes in your life, and those in your life may decide some of your most demanding priorities.

Number 4. Short term vs long term

As you manage your life remember that your life will change and that you should concentrate on all the times in your life, now, soon to come and the long term future. If you never plan forward for the long term, it may be too late to sort it out when the long term becomes the present. So one thing to throw in here, is learn how to take on help to quickly make hard decisions with advice from great mentors and advisers. Schedule meetings into your time management with professionals for things like wills, financial reviews, health checks, estate planning, school fees, university visits, and often over looked in these debt ridden times full car services.

Number 5. Systems

Lists obviously.

Some thoughts for your systems … not for me to lecture you here … but here are some thoughts to consider from a person who in my life, who had these things totally mastered.

Dad used to record all manner of things, but regularly he would review these, and decide which needed further time.

Notes in diaries, folders for projects, thoughts on scraps of paper filed within drawers and labelled.

In his last few years Dad’s meticulous records meant that everything was easy to find, easy to trace, it took Dad so much time to do it, but Dad’s priority was by then to make it so easy for the family to sort out his affairs when his time came to leave this earth. Make your decisions based upon your life.

Number 6. Learning to be happy with being lazy

Get ready, if you create real balance in your time management, you could find that your life need no longer be frenzied, over run, or pressured. http://files.sharenator.com/634081777606341745_Lazy_Definition_of_laziness-s800x600-57671-580.jpg

There is a tendency to look for things to do or just crash back into old time absorbing habits when life becomes simpler.

Here’s an example of time management from our household that saves hours.

We all have some  of these (“your men”) as we call them, these are the washing machine, the slow cooker, tumble dryer, and some are lucky enough to have a dish washer. The trick here is to set these going before you do other tasks. They will be doing your jobs for you whilst you do something else you feel you need to do. Next trick, take a hard look at your appliances, can you make them do more with less time. A lot of time people are stuck in time wasting habits, because they rush to get everything done, but with a few quick reviews they can save hours. Our dishwasher does the pots on quick in 30 minutes, as opposed to 140 minutes on Eco setting.
Even if you have to do some of the pots twice you are saving time overall.

Number 7. Delegation and control

If you are intending to be a successful executive, how much time could you save by delegating tasks to others, that you can effectively control by checking their actions later. On to another list, to check on later when the action should be completed. I’m sure can think of loads of these, great examples are appointment keeping, bookkeeping, collation of facts, documents, research, deletion of emails that you have no need to see, forwarding emails to others to deal with that are below your pay grade.

Number 8. Automation

Receipts, invoicing, direct debits, list of responses to the same issue .. click button response.

Many things can be automated, and just require adding to a list to be reviewed later to ensure they are completed.

Number 9. The 3 Filing Trays

As paper, or tasks arrive, they fall into three categories …

1. Do it now, or delegate immediately. List them, then decide which needs your time first. Try to delegate everything you can immediately, they can then be “your men” working on the tasks you have decided do not need to done by you, but someone does need to do them.

2. Projects and may be needed later (label up and file) Put on lists for later action.

3. Not needed, just bin it.

Number 10. No, not now, never and reviews

Learn to say no, not now, or never to things that are going to clutter your life with excessive absorption of your time, that do not come on to your list of priorities.

Put on your list to review your systems, actions and most importantly your priorities.

 

Good luck

 

See you soon

 

Simon Hamer

It’s the most important change in the US economy since the Great Recession—that nobody is talking about

simonhamer:

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So what’s going on here? Well, for one thing, sound public policy.
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The passage of the US Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act—the CARD Act—in 2009 and its 2010 implementation completely reshaped the American credit card industry. Here’s some of what the CARD Act did:
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Blocked credit card companies from extending credit without assessing the customer’s ability to pay
Implemented rules on marketing to people under the age of 21 to crack down abuses at college campuses
Limited a credit card company’s ability to levy penalty fees
Restricted the circumstances in which the company could jack up interest rates

And the CARD act is working. For one thing, the industry is opening far fewer accounts for people under the age of 21. In 2007 3.9 million accounts were opened for those under the age of 21. That number was 1.7 million in 2012, down 56.4%.

Originally posted on Quartz:

For all intents and purposes, the US has kicked its credit card addiction. At least for now.

Check it out. Revolving credit, which the government first started tracking in 1968, was going gangbusters for decades, driven by credit card debt. After the crisis, it’s nearly dead in the water.

​

Now, yes, those numbers encompass more than just credit cards. But a separate report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York drills deeper into the data, producing quarterly numbers on credit card debt alone. The trend is the same.

​

And here’s a look at how the solid monthly growth in credit card debt we saw in the years before the crisis has melted away more recently.

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Now it’s important to note that it’s not as if Americans have completely disavowed debt. Savings rates remain laughably low when compared to some other large advanced economies. And Americans haven’t…

View original 773 more words

How to create the ideal Work Life Balance – post 1 – Keeping Lists

Lists are one of your greatest assets and most loyal friends in making your life and work simple.

Question – Why is it my most loyal friend?

Answer – once you add an important action to the list, it will always be by your side reminding you decided that you wanted or needed to do.

Tell me a friend that always does that … without annoying you.

Why is it my greatest asset ?

Always using a list that you use as your primary reference point, will ensure that you never forget to do anything that you wish to do or should do. Imagine never missing a bill, a train, a meeting or a voluntary engagement ever again. Vision – keeping your life so organized that  you sleep better every night or continue to sleep well.

I run several businesses with various different people.

My key list – Here’s one to try.

Financial Liabilities / here and forthcoming.

On it, I put every bill, I write every forthcoming expected liability that is not automated by direct debit or standing order.

When there’s little on it, I just pay the most important first, and I just pay one each day.

If it gets more than 10 items long, I try and pay off the five most important as soon as I can.

I do the same with personal finances too.

Great place for this list, on your mobile, diary or on your desk … all dependent upon how you live your life.

Hope it helps.

Best regards

Simon Hamer

Empire Avenue, no longer enough reward for the time?

There used to be a great free tool from Dr. Dennis which was disabled due to difficulties with the API.

http://de.linkedin.com/in/davdittrich .. thanks Dennis.

Now we have the V suggestion … without any credit or consultation being given for the billionaires in Eaves that have given their efforts tirelessly on Empire Av for several years.

Recently missions are getting less and less take up.

Too much time needed.

Not enough return for my time.

I have removed my account.

Good luck to those that remain.

 

Energy Companies – my story with eDF

I watched GMTV’s Martin Lewis talk about how to deal with saving money on energy.

So today, I created an account for feeding in my energy use.

I then read all my meters and input the figures, in the process I thought I’d read all my previous correspondence (received via email) and review my account.

Once I got nearly all the way through the review service on eDF’s web site, a pop up box appeared.

“Do you want to chat live to a member of staff?”

Here’s the chat – copied and pasted across ! Date 30th October 2013.

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Welcome to EDF Energy’s Live Chat Service. We’ll be with you in a moment. Just so you know, this Live Chat will be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.
Thanks for waiting.

You are now connected with Sneha.

Sneha: Welcome to EDF Energy Online Customer Service Team. You’re chatting with Sneha. How may I help you today?

Simon Hamer: thinking of going fixed, then another issue

Sneha: Okay.

Simon Hamer: to 2017

Sneha: So if I got you correctly you want to switch tariff to March 2017

Simon Hamer: i’m considering it … need a quote first

Sneha: I would request you to please login to My Account.

Simon Hamer: Can you see how much my account is in credit by since I have input up to date meter readings.

Sneha: I will check that for you.

Sneha: In the meantime I would request you to please go to account details and then change tariff option.

Sneha: You will see the tariff available and the annual cost.

Simon Hamer: done that, but I’m not going to commit to you, until we resolve this excess amount of our money that you hold.

Sneha: I am checking the account.

Sneha: Thank you for waiting.

Sneha: I see have billed the account and after the bill the account is £546.51 in Credit

Simon Hamer: Our estimated annual usage from you is £805 … so you should reduce payments to a minimum of say £10, until this is reduced to say £200 at which point we would still be 3 months ahead. Is this possible.

Sneha: I am checking on it.

Simon Hamer: Our usage will drop further as our daughter is now at Uni .. and we all know what daughters are like with water usage in showers.

Sneha: I understand my working with the direct debit calaculation.

Sneha: Please bare with me

Simon Hamer: no worries Sneha … if you agree to do this, I’ll move to the fixed tariff until 2017, and eDF will have us as customers for a further 4 years. That’s a good deal for both of us.

Sneha: I completely understand.

Sneha: Thank you for waiting Simon.

Sneha: I have calulated the directy debit and the mimimun that I can reduce it to £30 for gas and electricity

Sneha: The current Direct debit is £54

Simon Hamer: Yes it is … but our currect usage is just under £70 a month, and you therefore have almost 8 months money already held by you … asking us to pay £54 now is quite frankly ridiculous, and even on the blue tariff it says we’ll use £61 a month.

Simon Hamer: Ask a supervisor … get them to see sense. I understand you have guidelines, but common sense has to prevail.

Sneha: I will change it to £30

Sneha: Will that help?

Sneha: I haven’t heard from you for a while.  Are you still there?

Simon Hamer: Yes, I am, have you read my last request to ask a supervisor ?

Sneha: I have consulted my supervisor that even if you change the tariff we will set the direct debit to £30 and not £61

Sneha: Simon will it be okay if I transfer the chat to my supervisor?

Simon Hamer: Sure !

Sneha: Okay.

Sneha: Please be connected.

Kiran: Hello Simon, This is Kiran Floor Manager.

Simon Hamer: Hello Kiran

Kiran: Allow me few minutes while I go through your conversation with Sneha to help you in best possible way.

Simon Hamer: Yes, read the chat first, and then we can chat further.

Simon Hamer: Sneha has been excellent

Kiran: Thank you for the Feedback Simon.

Kiran: I have reviewed and can suggest you that based on your meter readings for the month of June and the read you have provided today our calculations shows that we can set up the Direct debit minimum to £30.00.

Kiran: You can choose the March 2017 tariff and we will set up the Direct debit of same amount of £ 30.00 per month for Gas & Electricity together.

Simon Hamer: So the balance will transfer across .. ?

Kiran: Will that be okay with you Simon ?

Simon Hamer: messages crossed

Simon Hamer: will the balance transfer across from one scheme to another ?

Kiran: The account remains the same, however the Tariff only change so the account balance will be adjusted in the next bill.

Simon Hamer: Please confirm you have altered it to £30, and I will authorize the 2017 tariff.

Kiran: Allow me a moment.
Kiran: I’am amending your Direct Debit amount , however it will be affective from December 2013 as because your Direct debit date is 04th of every month and we have to send the request to bank 12 days prior to the date. So, for the month of November 2013 it will be £ 52.00.

Simon Hamer: Understand I’m ex bank staff.

Kiran: Thank you for understanding Simon.

Kiran: I have made changes in your Direct Debit amount to £30.00.

Simon Hamer: I’m now on the new tariff, please ensure the direct debits are as described
above
Kiran: I have checked the account and can see that the Tariff has been changed
and will ensure you the Direct debit remains £30.00. I would request you to provide the
meter reading every quarter so that the Direct debit gets reviewed according to the usage.

Kiran: Is there anything else I may help you with Simon?

Kiran: I haven’t heard from you for a while.  Are you still there?

Simon Hamer: I’m done Kiran, tariff done too. Thanks for trying,
I think if you used this responce to people who are desperately short of money
you would lose a customer. Smething for you to think on about.
Simon Hamer: **something**
Kiran: I completely understand your concern Simon.
Simon Hamer: OK, bye, thanks for your time.
Kiran: You are welcome

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MY AFTER THOUGHTS !

So, based on a direct debit of £52 in November, and £30 thereafter, and the £540+ I’m in credit as I write, when will my balance fall to just paying eDF three months usage in advance?

Usage estimates are presently £61 a month under the new scheme.

Allowing for usage to be £60 (daughter now at Uni) and paying £30 from December (£52 Nov)

Target £180 in credit !

End of November – balance £530+

December 2013 – credit balance £500

January 2014 – credit balance £470

Feb , March, April, May, June, July x £30 reduction a month (another £180)

therefore the credit balance at end of July 2014 £290

so by the end of November (another 4 months at £30) the balance will be £170 in credit.

To those of you stating prices are going to rise …. I’M ON A FIXED TARIFF UNTIL MARCH 2017, and this is their estimates of my usage from present usage with my daughter home.

My Conclusion

An absolutely totally unreasonable stance and if I’d been desperate for money I’d have moved and closed the account to get the money back.

Should I be asking for credit interest ?

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Update

So I received the paperwork confirming I had moved my tariff to the Fixed tariff. What do you think I was going to be charged on my direct debit, £52, £64, £30? Yes, that’s I thought too, where has £64 come from after all this discussion and our agreement. So I rang again and now my direct debit will be £30 from December. My point is that you have to manage these things you cannot just trust that things will go through as you agreed or expected, they will make errors and if you want to control your own finances, you will need to control your suppliers.

More thin threads that grew stronger – a developing networking story

Monday was a typical Monday.

A few calls on Skype and a bit of progress on the JV on my land, still in its infancy but looking good.

Tuesday.

Meeting with Erica at Il Rosso to give her some help with LinkedIn.

Erica’s a member of the Tuesday Club where I met her again, recently. Erica runs a VA service (Virtual Assistant service). She works with and supplies her services to both, Hewitt Card a well known local firm of accountants and a charity in Sheffield as a PA. Hewitt Card recently sponsored a Business Boost event in Mansfield, in which I was asked to speak. Also speaking were Graham Parker, Nicky Pattinson and Christine Tooze. So we are all intertwined and connected as a group of businesses.

Throughout the meeting with Erica, I realized she has many talents that she is not really exposing to the public and her potential clients. After about 4 hours we planned a way to expand her business and I look forward to helping her contact the people she needs to thrive.

Delighted to have spent the time with Erica.

So on to Wednesday.

In a similar groove, I met Carol Frankland through Anna Girstun at a networking event at Rushcliffe. Anna is another thin thread that grew stronger over the years. Anna runs an Aloe Vera business alongside her marketing business and I’ve tweaked the twitter marketing for her a little. The first time Carol and I met and I thought we could become great friends, so I have sought her out on several occasions to see her. I was reminded a few weeks ago it was time to ring her again when my business partners step son Sam Ruddock was pictured with Colin Jackson at the Queen’s Garden Party. I knew that Carol had been a producer for Colin Jackson in the recent past. Image

Thursday

Early start, off to the Charing Cross Hotel left home at 6.30 a.m., speaking on “How to Use LinkedIn” at 11.30 am. Invited to speak by Blue Ocean Consultancy who had found me through searches and then read my LinkedIn profile. Stayed for the presentation dinner and met a load more great people.

Friday

Off to The Brunts Academy for a budget meeting, for the coming year. Picked up a good contact for one of the governor’s at yesterdays event.

Then to see Mum p.m. and take her weekly shopping.

Saturday

A truly great friend is getting married, so it is back down the M1 to near Harrow, and to Enfield Golf Club to celebrate his marriage.

Sunday

Catch up online, make some great new connections.