Monday, September 28, 2015

Scents in the workplace

Have you ever walked into someone's office and all you could smell was their perfume or cologne? Well for some of us this can cause some real problems.

For some people the simple smell of a perfume or cologne can cause some major health issues that can last for quite a while. The reaction would be a slight tickle in the throat to something as made as major asthma attacks. The reaction can also last from a couple of minutes to several hours depending on the severity of the allergy/sensitivity.

There are a lot of places where scents are not allowed and I am one of those that totally supports this type of policy. I know that hospitals and clinics have started requesting individuals visiting these locations to avoid using perfume or cologne prior the to the visit. I am one of those individuals that has a hard time dealing with different perfume, colognes and even some candle scents. Normally I can deal with it if I can get out of the area quick enough but other times that just a quick smell of something can result in a hoarse voice and congestion for several hours.

When you have a condition that effects your breathing it makes it hard to focus once a reaction has started. For me, I just have to slow down for a while, use my inhaler and take it easy until the reaction eases. I do know that my asthma is triggered by these scents so I always have to be careful when out in malls, especially close to Mother's day, Valentine's day and Christmas. These occasions seem to be the times where stores really want to promote giving perfume as a gift to someone.

It is rather difficult to totally avoid all the different scents around us, but at least I can avoid most of them. So if you enjoy wearing cologne please remember that there are some of us that will suffer because of what you are wearing.

Remember, a scent is not limited to perfume or cologne as the scent can also be in candles, hairsprays, lotions, soaps, air fresheners, etc. If possible, please remember that you may enjoy the scent but someone else in the area may be having some issues because of it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Managing others

There are a number of ways to manage others and some are good and others don't work. Of course, it does depend on the individuals involved.

When managing others one of the biggest things is to figure out how to keep the individual busy but don't hover over them and keep checking up on them. People like to know that you trust them to get the work done. Also, make it clear to the person that if they run into problems or have any questions that are you there to assist them. One of the biggest things is as a manager you need to ensure that your staff is busy but you also have to ensure that you are getting your own work done.

One of the worst things you can do when managing someone is continually checking up on them to make sure they are getting stuff done. Of course, there is always the challenge of not checking up enough on an individual so that they feel they can do whatever they want. At first, you will always have to be around to assist the new individual but once you see that they can do the various tasks you need to step back a bit and let them do it.

Managing others is always a trick because until you know what the person can and cannot do you will need to manage one way and then later change how you manage. Staff want to know that you trust them and they in turn will trust you and will come to you when they have problems.

For the manager there is always the risk of someone above you not liking your management style. Everyone has their own ways to manage and that needs to be understood. You can't tell someone to stop hovering over staff one day and then tell them they aren't doing a good job at managing the same people the next day. If you see something that can be improved in a way someone manages you can make suggestions but that's it. Managing others is always a challenge but trust is one of the biggest things that you need to establish.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Juggling various projects

So many of us deal with the same projects on and off and that is the juggling of various projects at the same time.

Of course, with work there always seems to be too many things that need to be accomplished and just not enough time to get everything done. The juggling of the projects can simply be the various emails that appear that need to be dealt with or it can be various projects that are all needing our attention at the same time.

I do juggle a number of work projects all the time and there are instances where I don't feel like I am getting anywhere with any of them. When this happens I know that the best thing I can do is sit back and look at them and figure out some of the small tasks that need to be completed and get them out of the way. By simply getting some of the small tasks done it gets me wanting to see more of the projects moved along and it gets a lot easier to deal with.

Now, the other juggling that I do is with my own time because as a crafter there are always a lot of different projects being worked on at once. There are some crafter's that can only have one project on the go at once but that sure isn't me. I currently don't even want to count all the projects that I have on the go because it would be quite a few. My crafting projects are all at different stages because then I can work on them when I have different amounts of times to allocate to the.

The juggling of all the various projects does take some time and it can also add some unnecessary stress to our lives when things get a little hard to deal with. Perhaps my to-do-list can sometimes look rather long and that is because I break down a lot of my projects into a lot of detail. The detail is how I can juggle everything and at least see a bit of progress on the projects. I also set the milestones that I want to achieve to ensure that I can try and keep the focus that I need to get everything done.

As a project manager being able to see the various little things that can get done does help me juggle all the tasks for all the projects. The juggle will continue but at least I am finding methods that can help me continue to get things moved a little further ahead.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gym membership - 5 weeks in

If you had asked me a year ago if I would have been going to a gym on a regular basis I probably would have said no to you. Now I can say I am enjoying going to a gym and am happy about it.

Five weeks ago we had a gym open within walking distance from our home and that was one of the big selling points to us. Neither one of us wanted to have to drive or take transit to get to the gym and we also didn't want the personal trainers or all the classes that a lot of gyms offer. What we wanted was a gym where we could work out and basically be our own bosses for our exercises and that is what we found. The other nice selling point was something that was reasonable priced and that is also what we got.

We have been going to the gym now for five weeks and I am loving it. The routine is to try and get to the gym between two and three times a week if our schedule allows us to do that. Being able to walk to it also means that one of us can go even when the other one can't go for any reason. Our gym bag is now always sitting close to the front door ready to go so that when we decide to go there isn't the having to prepare the gym bag as it is ready.

For us the purpose of the gym is to get fit and be happy however building big muscles has never been high on the list of things we want to accomplish. The gym offers us the flexibility to do what we want and for how long we want without someone watching over us and saying we should do so many of each certain exercise each time we are at the gym. We have been enjoying going and our routine at the gym differs each time we are there.

The routine that I started with was walking a 5km walk on the treadmill with some other small exercises thrown in before and after that walk. Now my routine is more like 20 minutes on the treadmill at a higher speed and then more time on all the other equipment that I want to work on that trip to the gym. Of course, there is one machine that always get used and that is the one for working on the abdominal muscles. I am now normally using that machine twice each trip to the gym as it is my starting machine and ending of the trip.

The things that have really changed for me is my comfort about myself being at a gym and how I can actually do things. 5 weeks ago me completing the 5 km walk in under 60 minutes was a major milestone and if I could walk it at 3.1 miles an hour that was wonderful. Now I spend 20 minutes on the treadmill normally at around 3.4 miles an hour with sprints at 4.5 miles an hour so that is a big difference for me. I am now looking forward to getting the sprints longer and the amount of walking in the 20 minutes down but I that is going to take some time before I am running the entire 20 minutes.

One of the biggest things that happened was this past week. A friend of mine saw me for the first time since we joined the gym and she noticed a change in me. Of course, I haven't been really working on a lot of areas yet but she did notice that there is a change in my appearance/shape and that made me extremely happy. For me knowing that I have been making some changes in my life and I have been feeling some differences in how clothes fit makes me very happy.

The gym is something that I am really enjoying and now I am very determined to keep at it as we are also getting rid of some weight in this process. The weight isn't leaving quickly but I can say that in the last 5 weeks both of us have gotten rid of 3 pounds each so that is great. I am feeling stronger already and I can also walk at a faster pace normally now.

A gym is helping me change me in some good ways and I wonder what I will be like when I reach the three months of going.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Friendly work environment

A friendly work environment makes it so much easier to do things than some place where you aren't allowed to smile or even laugh just a little bit.

I have heard that “this place isn't summer camp” said when a couple of people have decided to laugh just a little bit. The laughing isn't something that is done all the time but it is something that helps relieve the stress that we all deal with now a days especially at work. Of course a work environment shouldn't be a place where there is always a bunch of people laughing all the time but there are times when just a bit of laughter makes things so much better.

It is amazing how different people handle stress and everything that is going on around us. I have been told that I am too enthusiastic about my work. I enjoy my work and when I am doing something, yes, I will put all my energy into it and show an interest. Something, me just showing being happy is also a means of dealing with challenges that I don't want others to see that I am handling.

A friendly work environment really does make work so much easier to do even when you are really stressed about something. I know that work needs to get done and that is why people go into an office but there also needs to be a chance to smile and be happy about things even for a little while.

So if you are dealing with a location that doesn't allow you to smile or even laugh a bit, that isn't a good spot for you if you want to be happy. I continue to show my enthusiasm on the various projects that I am working on as it makes me feel better and the smiles can be contagious. I am now going to go and put that smile on my face and if people around me don't like it that's their problem.

Do you have a friendly work environment or one that makes you feel depressed?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Song lyrics and writing

If I could find the words then I would write it all down
If I could only find a voice I would speak
Oh it's there in my eyes so can't you see me tonight
C'mon and look at me and read 'em and weep

I was sitting in my office and listen to a song and a thought came to me and it is so true. For writers there are times that we cannot find the words to put down on paper. We can visualize what we are trying to say but the words just don't come. There are times when I am trying to write something that I wish someone could read my thoughts and help me with the words.

I was listening to “Read 'em and Weep” by Barry Manilow and that is when I did this thinking. I have said more than once that I can't find the words to say or write for what I am trying to communicate and it does get frustrating. Finding the right words isn't always the easiest to do, especially when you are trying to explain a feeling or situation.

One of the ways that I try and deal with this issue is to try and work around the situation and then sometimes the words do come to me. I know that I have an excellent listener in my business partner and husband and he can sometimes help me find the words that have gone missing.

Everyone has these times and we just need to deal with them and figure out another method of communicating what we are feeling. There are times when the words will never come and then there are times when after a while the right words will appear. Remember people can't read your thoughts and that is the worst part about not being able to get the words down.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Food allergies and restaurants

Dealing with severe food allergies is always a challenge and more so when eating out. I have a severe allergy to shellfish which means if calamari is fried in the same oil as other food it limits what I can eat in any restaurant.

What I have been noticing the last while and it is starting to bother me is I feel like I am being punished or discriminated against because I have such a food allergy. Recently I went out for a lunch to a new restaurant and decided to have a hamburger and yes it was to come with fries. I asked if I could possibly have something other than the fries because of my severe food allergies to shellfish. The girl immediately said yes and said I could have either a garden or caesar salad instead of the fries. I was pretty happy that they would make a substitution without any issues until I got the bill. Because I substituted the fries for a caesar salad I was charged an additional $2.50 for the salad but never told that the charge would be made. If I had of been given a choice of maybe a garden for no charge and the caesar for a charge I may have done for the garden salad.

The problem that I am really having issue with is, being charged and not being told up front that an additional charge will be incurred. I understand that some substitutions would cost but I would like to know up front what the cost is and let me make a choice of what I am going to have. This surprise charge on a bill is very upsetting to me because this is happening more and more.

I did talk to a server at another restaurant and she was saying that they have to notify the customer of any additional charges for substitutions or extras. I think this is what all restaurants should be doing because the extra cost should be my choice if I have it or not. Also please explain why something that is being substituted costs so much extra. You are doing away with one food and replacing it with another. Now I understand a caesar salad may cost a little bit more than fries but really $2.50 extra that would probably be like adding another side to the meal.

I can see restaurants charging something for some substitutions especially if you just want to replace something. For those of us with severe food allergies it would be nice to get something without always having to pay for the changes in some restaurants. I didn't ask you to fry the calamari with the other foods so why am I the one that is being punished for your method of operation. What I also want is if there is a rule that all substitutions incur a cost let me know that the cost of the substitution is and if there are different costs for different choices and let me decide what I want.

For me what I don't like is feeling like I am being punished because I have the food allergies. I didn't ask to have them and I don't like having them but I have to live with them. Food allergies aren't something that we can simply forget and ignore when we are eating out because one wrong step could result in a hospital visit or worse.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dealing with the stress of life

Of course we all seem to have more stress in our life than we did before and sometimes it is harder to deal with than we would like.

The stresses in our lives can be the ones that we put on ourselves and/or the ones that other people seem to put on ourselves. There are days when just the simple little tasks seem to take forever to complete due to all the other things that are bouncing around in our heads. It can be very difficult when there seems to be too many demands on our time and it feels like there just isn't enough time to get everything accomplished. Of course what happens when we are feeling like that is someone else asks for a bit of our time and without thinking about how we are really feeling we quickly give up that bit of time and then get frustrated later.

There are times where you can get tons of work done and you are feeling like you can accomplish anything and then it hits. That one thing that is added to your already overflowing plate and then it hits you. Yes, you may be getting things accomplished but are they really the things that you should be working on then or are you just trying to avoid some of the other things on your plate. I know that I have done that and I feel great as I am getting things done and then I realize that the most urgent thing hasn't been touched and the deadline is getting closer and closer.

So yes, we are sometimes our own worse enemy because we are the ones that are giving away our rather limited time and adding that additional stress to our lives. I have found that when I start giving away too much of my limited free time it is time for me to sit back and look at what needs to be done and when.

All of us have some stress that is added by others due to the demands of work or home but in some cases we are the ones adding the additional stresses to our lives as we aren't looking at what needs to be done and when.

Making sure that you have some of your own mediation time (whatever you do to think things through) is very important. I have been missing that mediation time lately and I know, that if I could just sit back and look at everything I would realize that things don't look as bad as I thought they did, but just couldn't see it through all the haze I was dealing with in my head.

We all need to sometimes sit back and realize that so much of the stress in our lives is our own doing as we too easily give up some of our time. Next time when someone asks you for just a bit of your time, remember before you quickly answer, think about how many others have asked that same question and how much time do you really have left to give away.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Reward cards

How many reward cards do you carry and do you really use all of them?

It seems that more and more stores are handing out reward cards or tags so that you will continue to shop in that specific store. There are some stores that I have reward cards for and other stores I don't because I don't shop at the specific store enough. It is really interesting to sit back and figure out how many cards you have and which ones are used the most.

I did a bit of looking and I know there are about three cards that I use the most and that is because of where I shop. One is my grocery store card, one is my air miles card and then the other is for a speciality tea shop. See the air miles card is accepted at a number of stores so that is why it is part of the ones that I use the most.

It is interesting to see people's reactions when i say I don't need or want a specific rewards card. I don't normally get a card for a store that I don't visit very often and figure I would never get a reward from the store. At first the latest card we got was something that we thought about. Now this card is for a coffee shop that we go to sometimes. When we were first thinking about the card we didn't see the value for it until we actually sat down and did a bit of a calculation. The biggest thing is, we figured out that this is the one coffee shop where we go when we need a break from home and want to sit and write or read.

Reward cards can be really nice but when you have to carry all of them it gets a little much. I finally got a separate key chain for all the different reward tags that I have been carrying. In some ways it makes it easier to find just the tags and then I am not continually having over all the keys that I have.

A new thing that is happening is instead of a reward card the stores are starting to just use a phone number to assist you in collecting rewards. I think this is nice in a way because then it means I don't have to look for the card while standing in line to pay. Now, the only problem I see is when you don't remember which phone number you used for that specific store. I have some stores where we have used our home number and then others have been my cell or my husband's cell number. What I liked was one store actually put all three numbers down so no matter which one we give them it works.

Reward cards can be good if you do use some of the rewards that you collect. Simply just collecting points all over doesn't help you if you never redeem any of them. I got to the point now that once I have something to redeem, I will redeem it so that if that card is discontinued I won't lose lots.

Next time you are shopping, stop and think about which cards you use and which ones have never been used since you got them. Maybe those unused cards are the ones that should be either left at home or destroyed. Rewards are great only if the reward is something that you would use. I am now off to get some tea because I have earned enough points for that.