Monday, March 19, 2018

You, Me and a Crazy Schedule

You, Me and a Crazy Schedule

As some of you may know I run a small IT consulting business with my husband and that can be a challenge sometimes. For us, it is sometimes a challenge to figure out what we are both working on and how our schedule actually works together. We decided a while ago that one way to try and keep our schedule known to the other was to start using Google Calendar for a lot of the things that we do. One of the key steps that we did for that was to set up a Gmail account for the business and that is where we manage a lot of our schedule.

Yes, managing two schedules for work as well as personal life can be a challenge but we decided that we would be putting all of the different things onto one calendar so that the two of us can see what it going on. Sure the calendar can look a little busy sometimes but at least we both know that is going on and that does help a lot. It also means that if there is a conference coming up or even bills that need to be paid they are entered into the calendar. The important thing to remember is to turn off the reminders on events that are just notes and not something that is time specific.

The calendar has given the two of us a better understanding of the overall schedule that we are dealing with and it helps a lot. I know that there are times when I look at the calendar can start laughing because it just seems like there are weeks when there are so many things on it and then another week it is pretty quite. The quite weeks may look quite but those are normally weeks when bigger things are happening and we are doing other tasks that need to be done.

Our calendar is snyced to both of our phones so that we have it with us when we aren’t home because that also helped let the other one know what is going on. We found that making sure that even the little things are noted means that it is easier to schedule client meetings when we know what else is going on in our lives. The one thing that needed to be on the calendar was all the holidays because without those you could be scheduling a weekend of work when it’s a holiday weekend and people really don’t want to work that weekend. Besides having the calendar on our phones I also have a paper copy of it because it means that if I can on the phone with someone I can quickly see what is going on without having to try and check my calendar which is also on the device I am using for the conversation.

One day I was looking at our calendar and someone asked me how many kids we had because we were so busy. I explained that we didn’t have any kids but when you are managing two work lives, two personal lives and things we do together the calendar can look a little crazy depending on when you see it. Yes, some people may laugh at our calendar but it works for us and that is what is important. We have found a method of keeping track of the different things in our lives and it works for us. It may not work for everyone but that is fine because every is different.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Social Media

There are so many different ways to connect with people now through Social Media that it can get a little overwhelming if you try to do everything. I know that I have had to make decisions as to where I want to be and where it isn’t going to be part of my life right now as I just don’t have the time or energy to be everywhere.

For me I have decided that I will be on three different social media sites and I am going to try and limit it to that. I am on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and I think that can be busy enough if you try and keep up with everything. Linkedin is the one that I find the easiest to manage because there are the social posting most of the time. Sure there are the posts about different articles and such but that is it so that is easy to handle.

Facebook is something else and that can be a job in itself and I don’t keep up with everyone on it as I would have to be watching the screen all the time to do that. Facebook is a great way to connect with people especially friends and relatives but everyone has to understand that not everyone is on it all the time and not everyone posts everything about their life on it. Facebook for me is something that I use a bit and I am one of those that doesn’t post everything on it. I have had people complain that they don’t see what we are doing and part of that is because I don’t want my entire life out for the friends and family to see. Yes, I will post the occasional update about things but again they are few and far between. I do post in some of the groups that I belong to but again I don’t post often as it would just take too much of my time to do that. I sometimes will like a post but again with the amount of stuff that groups can post on a daily basis it can be a challenge to see everything and I just don’t try and do that.

Twitter, now here is one social media platform that can be like a garden hose and trying to keep up with everything that is posted can nearly impossible. On the weekends it doesn’t seem to be quite as bad as during the week but again it can be a challenge to keep up with just all the posts that come in. I am following 198 different accounts and have 24 follows so you can see that I am not out there a lot. Sure it can help you keep updated with what is going on but you can miss a lot of things as well and that is something that you have to accept when you are part of Twitter or most of the social media platforms.

Recently I was talking to someone about a group on Facebook that I belong to and she said that I never post in the group or even comment on other posts. I was a little surprised when she said that because I have posted and commented in the group so didn’t know what she was talking about. After a few seconds I did let her know that I do post in the group and I like various posts but considering how many posts there are in the group it is difficult to see everything someone comments on or likes. The other thing that made me laugh is I am not friends in Facebook with this person so I can like tons of posts but she isn’t going to be my name as someone that has liked a post.

Yes, I know that I quite often have Facebook and Twitter open on my computer during a business day and part of that is because I keep an eye on a Facebook and Twitter account which is for work. I want to ensure that people are not posting things that should be posted on those sites. Sure it looks like I spend hours on these two social media platforms but honestly they may be open but most of the time where are hidden from view and I am doing the other work that needs to be done and I check into these sites from time to time to ensure that everything is still good.

I know that there are a lot of other Social Media platforms that I could belong to like Instragram and others but it can be a challenge to keep up with what I am currently on so I am not going to add more things to track right now. I understand that there are people that are on most if not all the different social media platforms but I have no idea how they can keep up with everything and also work and do everything else they do. I know what makes me happy and that is what I am going to stick with and sure if you don’t see me comment or post on a group maybe you have just missed it and that is what social media is like.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Driving distances

How many times have you received a call from someone visiting from outside of North America thinking that they can get to see you quickly? I know that just being able to realize that Canada is a lot bigger than a lot of the European countries. I have done a bit of a comparison to show the differences between Canada and some of the European countries.

  • Nuremberg Germany – Berlin Germany 449km
  • Nuremberg Germany – Munich Germany 226km
  • London England – Glasgow Scotland 663km
  • Plymonth England – Inverness Scotland 1,107km
  • Vancouver, British Columbia – Halifax Nova Scotia 6,610 km
  • Toronto, Ontario – Montreal, Quebec 541 km

Part of what can be interesting is when you have people visiting from Europe and they think that everyone in a city or even a province should know everyone else. I have also heard that people in one city in Canada thinks it will only take an hour or two to drive between major cities. One comparison is someone wanting to go to Toronto for lunch when they are in Montreal for a business meeting. I know that this happened and someone received a call from a business colleague visiting Montreal from Europe and they were driving to Toronto to take the other individual out for lunch. The European individual didn’t realize that the drive between those two cities were more than a 5 hour drive not the hour or two that they were normally doing in Europe.

Another thing that happens is some of the different European vendors don’t think about how long it takes to drive from city to city in Canada and they send out the different events in cities that are hours away. We recently received an email about an event in Ottawa in April while the same event is being hosted in Toronto in September. Why would I drive 4 hours to Ottawa for a one day event when I can go to the same event here in Toronto without having the expense of travel time and also a hotel that would be required to be at the event at 8 am.

Yes Canada is a very large country and it takes days to drive from coast to coast and not just hours. It can be interesting to see the difference in times between getting between major cities depending on what country you are talking about. I enjoy comparing the differences between the different countries and seeing how long it takes to get from major city to major city. So next time you hear someone talk about why don’t we know everyone in our country let them know that we are an extremely large country and it would be difficult to know everyone either in our city, province or country.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Figuring out what works and what doesn't work

I think all of us can sit back sometimes and see that things that were working for you are just not working currently. It can be very simple in changing some of the process or it might be something bigger than that.

added some bling
My planner has been getting a bit of an update for the last little while and part of that is because I was finding that some things were working very well for me and other parts just didn’t work the way that they were done. This has meant that there has been times that I have been frustrated when things were not the way I wanted them and now I am trying another setup to see if that will work better for me. I am not sure how things will go but I am going to try these changes.
adding some colour

One thing I did notice was that my planner wasn’t really me so that was something that was pretty easy to fix and all it took was some washi tape and some stickers along with the dividers I was already using and some card stock for other dividers. It is amazing how adding some bling to the planner and some personal touches has made a difference to it. Having some glitter on some of the pages has helped me feel that the planner is more me because of this. I have also been able to add some dividers which some different stickers and that has also helped.

My planner is now two different planners as I found I just had too much information that I wanted to have available. I have now set up my planner in ways that seem to be working well and that is stuff that I need when I am out and about and then the stuff that I need while working at home. I have my small ARC notebook with the stuff that I need when we are on the go and then I have a full size ARC notebook that I keep more information in it and that is the one that is used to track stuff at home and when I am working. Having two planners does mean that there are some things that I have double but at least I feel better about things because I am not trying to carry everything with me all the time.

Figuring out what works and what doesn’t work does take some time and it is just a matter of being able to sit back and take that little bit of time to figure it all out. I am still not sure if the two planners are set up the way I want them yet and I know that if I find something isn’t working for me I just have to figure out how to change it and see if the new way works better.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Regaining a focus

I think a lot of us deal with a time where we have to sit back and think about some of the things that we have on our to do list. I know that is something that I try and do at least once a month to ensure that things are getting done that need to get done and that things that are no longer necessary can be removed from the list.

Another thing that needs to be done every once in a while is to look at the different things that you have thought about doing and seeing if they are still things that you want to do. As someone that crafts I find that there are times that I need to go through some of my craft projects and decide if they are going to be worked on or if it’s time to say no and either get rid of the project or put the material back into my stash so that I can use it for something else. It can be a little overwhelming sometimes to look at the projects and make these decisions but you have to remember that realizing that you aren’t going to finish something does help. It gets one thing off the list of things that you are going to do and then you have more time to do the things that you really want to do.

There are going to be times when you do the review of your things and you just put everything back because they are all things you are going to work on at some point. Being able to figure out if you are gong to work on something or not can take some time so this needs to be done when you have a bit of time to actually focus on the task and not feel like you are rushing through it.

After you have done the cleaning up of either your to do list or your projects you will be able to sit back and see what is important and move forward on them. There is still the risk that things on your to do list or your projects won’t get done but at least you may have your list a little more under control which is the main thing.

Regaining a focus is very important from time to time. It can help you get back to what is important and what needs to get done rather than working on things that really aren’t important and can either wait for a while or don’t need to be done. Once your focus has been regained it is time to get back to doing the things that you need to do and don’t worry about those things that you decided aren’t important any longer.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Escaping the normal routine

I think everyone needs a break and an escape from the normal routine. For some people it can be as simple as changing up the routine for a day. For others it might mean taking a vacation away from home.

An escape for me depends on a lot of things and sometimes it can be as simple as finding a different place to write for a couple of hours. Some escapes can even be as simple as going to a hotel across the city from home for a couple of nights. Other escapes can be doing to Niagara Falls for a long weekend and being a tourist. Sure Niagara Falls can be very busy in the summer but off season it can be a wonderful place to enjoy yourself.

Any escape no matter what you do can make such a difference. It is a means of recharging your personal battery and forgetting about some of the pressures and stress of the normal routine. Being able to forget the things that you can’t do for a couple of days can make such a difference to have you handle things when you get back to your normal routine.

Being able to figure out what works as an escape for you can make such a difference. Knowing what is important to you and what you need in your escape can help a lot. For me, one of the things that I have to do is not over plan my escape. I need to know that the schedule I have for the escape is extremely flexible.

An escape no matter how long it is does come to an end but at least it has been an escape from the normal routine. When you get back to your normal routine things are still going to be there from before you left but at least they may not seem as difficult or overwhelming.

Escaping the normal routine is very important to everyone. Your escape can be different each time or it can be the same but at least it is an escape and that’s what is important.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


There are times that the media just seems to talk about a story or an accident just to much. I understand that the public needs to hear the details so they are comfortable and feel safe again but then it is the number of times that the same details are told.

With the media the stories that are told over and over again are the murder and major accidents but the nice feel good stories are quickly mentioned and then seem to be forgotten. It would be nice if we could get a better blend on the stories. There hare times when it seems that there is nothing good going on in the world but when you check online there is a lot of good happening but it just doesn’t get the mention through the media. I have heard that the media feels that they need good stories to talk about and I feel like a good story is something that isn’t happy it is something bad.

Lately there has been some murders or homicides in the area that seem to be the main thing that has been talked about on the news. Besides that there is now all the public figures that are being accused of sexual misconduct. These are the stores that we are hearing over and over again and they seem to never end.

I understand that people need to know what is going on in their area and if there is a situation that may cause some harm to them but it is the constant repeating of the same information day after day. If there was something new in one of the cases then fine talk about the new information but please don’t show the same tapes that you have shown over the last few days. With the internet now a days if someone has missed something and wants to find out about it they can easily look it up online and get the information that they have missed.

When the media starts repeating the story too many times that is when I turn off the television and find something else to do that I enjoy. Sure we need to hear what is going on in the world but it would be nice to see some of the feeling good stories just a little more often.