Monday, January 30, 2017

Write and just writing

So many people say that they are afraid of the blank page and they can’t figure out what to write about. Maybe that is the problem, they are trying too hard to think about what they should be writing instead of just putting words down onto paper.

Recently I gave myself a challenge and that was to try and just write for 30 minutes and see how many words that I could get down onto paper. It is amazing to see how much writing you can do in half an hour when you put your mind to it. It does mean that you are going to have to ignore a few things for that time but it can also make you feel so much better when you see the results. When I say ignore, I mean you are going to have to get away from social media and let those emails just wait for 30 minutes before you jump and deal with them.

My challenge for everyone is to try and write for just 30 minutes and it doesn’t matter what you write about. You can write about your family, the weather or anything but try and spend 30 minutes of just putting words onto paper. You might be very surprised with how many words you can generate in that short of a time period.

When I challenged myself I didn’t have a topic that I wanted to write about I just started with what was on my mind and then it continued and I even wrote some of this blog during that half an hour. Yes, my challenge to myself resulted in me figuring out that walking away from all the other distractions can help me figure out things that I want to write about and how I would like to help others deal with the fear of the blank page. I did deal with the fear of the blank page for quite a while and then I slowly started to see that a page doesn’t last being blank for too long. Most days I start my journal with some odd comments but it breaks the log jam that is in my head and it lets me write. People don’t see what my journal says because that is what helps me figure out my day, my feelings and even issues.

Being able to see that you can write can make a world of difference to how you see things. Yes, the challenge helped me today because I hadn’t been writing much and maybe the challenge will help you. For me the challenge helped me write almost 1,600 words in that half an hour. You may find that you can get just 200 words written but at least it is something written and that page is no longer blank. Remember, the first edit of what you write is just that it’s the first attempt and then you can go back if someone else is going to read it and make it clearly.

So now that you have finished reading my blog I want you to spend 30 minutes and try and just write. It doesn’t matter the topic or anything else, it just is some time to put some words down onto paper or onto the computer page and see how it makes you feel. You could be very surprised and see that you have a lot of things you want to write about so go ahead and write.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mystery allergic reactions

There are times when I have an allergic reaction and it isn’t because of something I have eaten so those are the ones that can be extremely scary.

In some cases I know that a reaction that I have had is because I have been near something that I am allergic to and it has caused a reaction even through I haven’t eaten the food. As some proteins can be airborne I can sometimes have a reaction because I have been able to breathe in the proteins of what I am allergic to and that causes the reaction.

The mystery allergic reactions are those reactions that occur when I haven’t been around any allergens that I am aware of. There have been times when I have been even at home and sitting and relaxing without any food near me only to have a reaction. If I could smell something or have touched something that I am allergic to that could explain the reaction.

For anyone that deals with severe food allergies the mystery reactions can cause a lot of fear because of course it is first trying to figure out what you are reacting to. Of course, part of the fear when you have these mystery reactions is, am I developing another allergy to something that I have eaten? These are the times that cause a great deal of fear because it means looking at what you ate not long before the reactions and also what is in the environment when the reaction occurs. For me, I know that once I have had this type of reaction it means that I am going to be very careful for a while about anything that I eat or what I am near so that I can try and figure out what is causing the reactions.

Anyone with severe food allergies always deals with the fear of having a reaction because of cross-contamination or something like that. The fear of the mystery reaction means a lot of investigation to figure out the cause and also how to prevent another one from happening. Of course, after having a mystery reaction I know I experience a fear of food even things that are safe for me because I am not sure what I reacted to or why. Sometimes the fear is even being in a certain area just because that is where the last reaction has occurred. I have had times that I haven’t wanted to be in our own living room because I have had a couple of reactions in a short time period while in that room. We have now figured out that part of the reactions that I have been experiencing in our own home, when I haven’t been eating, is something that is airborne and causing the reaction. We continue to investigate this as it can lead to a feeling of being trapped and scared because of not knowing what caused the reaction and when another one is going to happen.

For anyone with food allergies, the mystery reaction can be very scary and it can also be scary for the people around you because it happens when you have been very careful. Understanding that this type of reaction can occur and knowing what to do when they occur does help. These reactions are the same as any other reaction just the cause of them is unknown, the reaction is the same and the steps to follow are the same.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Finding time for yourself

There are so many people that say oh I just spend the weekend doing my craft and there was nothing else to do. I look at those people and wonder what they really do if they can always find the weekend to do their crafts without having to else.

Maybe, the problem is I have lots of thing that I normally have to bump something else if I want to spend even a day doing my crafts. Sure, maybe I am one of those that just has too many things on the go at any time but then it is how I think a lot of people are now a days. Between work, home, family and friends there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the week to do everything. Oh, on that list I forgot self because that is someone else that needs the time.

Finding time for yourself can be a challenge and it may take a bit of extra effort to make sure that you are finding that time no matter what. I know that I have got into the habit of trying to find at least an hour in the evenings or most evenings to do something for myself. When life gets really busy I know that my “me time” gets bumped first because I figure I need to handle everything else first and then I will fit the time in for myself.

Through a lot of this I have found that the me time that I have is where I can git and actually do my own type of meditation. The “me time” is where I can spend that bit of time thinking through the various projects and plans that I have on the go and actually figure out how some of them are going to be moved forward. The “me time” is also where I am going to think through the to-do-list and figure out how I am going to be tackling some of the things.

I may look like someone that does a lot of crafting, but in the most part, if I can find an hour or two some nights to craft that is wonderful. I also have the advantage that when I craft I pick things that I can see some results quickly. Making sure that I can find the time to do some of these projects makes me a lot happier because then when I do take that time for me I am also productive on the simple things that I enjoy doing.

Finding time for me is actually finding time to do my own type of meditation and get the thoughts back organized in my mind. Sure, I am getting something else done but through this time I find that I am more productive the next day because I have figured out a lot of those little steps that needed to be figured out.

Find time for yourself and even if it just those few minutes at the end of the day it’s great. If you are lucky and can find days at a time to do the things you enjoy, consider yourself lucky because a lot of us are finding those small bits of time to just sit and put ourselves first.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Date Night

Yes, dates still are a good thing for married couples even when you work together.

My husband and I decided that it was time for us to have a date again. Yes, we still try and do this every once in a while. The date can be a nice dinner out or it can be a movie, it all depends on our mood. This time we decided to go to a movie and for me to experience the VIP movie theater instead of the normal theater.

One of our biggest challenges for a date night is actually finding a day when it is going to work for us and also not impact the work that we are doing for our clients. It means that we end up planning a number of them and then they end up getting rescheduled do to work or other parts of our life changing the plans. I think most married couples face these same challenges because of work and home life.

We were finally able to plan a day where we could go to a movie and decided that the VIP theater was going to be a treat for the two of us. One for me as I had never been to one and one for my husband because he had only been there alone a couple of times. The experience is very different and something that I would consider as a treat for when you are having that special date and need something special. The theater we went to was just a VIP theater and not attached to the regular theater like a lot of them are.

Upon arrival at the theater you do see a difference is the dress of the staff and how you are also welcomed. The VIP theaters are for 18 years of age and over and that is because they are licensed and to ensure everyone is of the legal drinking age it makes it easier for the servers. There is a lounge available before and after the movie with a nice variety of foods and drink that are available for purchase. Besides the menu that is in the lounge there is also a menu for in the theater and there are servers there as well before the movie starts. The seats are also a nice bonus because they are wider than the normal theater seat with more leg room and then between very pair of seats there is an arm rest that can be pushed back out of the way so that you can curl up with your date.

The experience was something that I have to say that I really enjoyed. It was very different to be sitting in a theater and being able to enjoy a glass of wine while watching a movie. Normally the glass of wine is something that can be enjoy at dinner either before or after the movie or while watching a movie at home.

Is the VIP experience something that I would do all the time, no it isn’t. The experience is a nice treat but for most of the movies that are out I would say that I will still go to the normal theater for most of them. The VIP theater is going to be the spot that we are going to use for those special times when we really need to escape and feel very special while enjoying a movie.

Our date night was wonderful and I am happy that we were able to find the time to do this. We are already talking about when we are going to go out on another date and what we are going to do next time. A date night doesn’t have to be a dinner or a movie, it can be something as simple as going out and have a break from the normal routine. What you do on your date is up to you but it is a nice to spend that time with your partner and let the rest of the world just wait a bit for your attention.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Your website is out of date

There are times when an out of date website can be a total frustration.

I recently was looking into getting a new anti-virus program for our business so basically our own notebooks. I didn’t think it would be such a challenge until after we decided which package to purchase. I went onto the company website and selected the product which was easy enough and then entered our credit card information in and then this is where the problems started. After entering everything and getting all the necessary check marks I clicked on the purchase button. This should have been the final step in the process but it was the beginning of the frustration that I then had to deal with. The website informed me that they couldn’t validate my address so I checked everything and tried again and again, only to have this same message pop up. So there was this message that said if you are having problems please contact support. Yes it said support for someone that is trying to make a purchase.

Now here is where most of frustration happened because it wasn’t going to be as easy as making one phone call. I called support and waited on hold until I was connected to a support person which wasn’t too long only a minute or two. After explaining the problem that was having I was having I was informed that I should have called customer service and not support like the screen told me to do. I was then put on hold for 2 – 3 minutes while the support person looked up the phone number for me to call. Yes, I had to hang up and dial a different number because this person couldn’t transfer to customer service.

Ok, I called customer service and figured that would be great and simple and they would be able to resolve the issue. That wait was once again another 2 – 3 minutes until a customer service representative was able to take my call. I once again explained the issue that I was having about not being able to purchase the product I wanted online. The rep asked me again which product I was trying to purchase and I told her again. Now this is the line I get from her “Oh, you should be talking to sales and not customer service if you want to purchase that product, you called the wrong person.” Yes, I was given customer service by support only to be told that I had the wrong department again. Maybe this is when I should have just hung up and ran away but I did. At least customer service was able to transfer me to sales.

I finally got in contact with a sales person and once again explained the situation. The first response I got was well you are probably trying to purchase something from the American site and not the Canadian site. I did explain that I had selected the Canadian site and the price did have a C before the dollar sign so that should mean Canadian dollars. The sales person then asked me what product I was trying to purchase and I told him for the second time. The response I got made me extremely mad when I heard, “Oh, that product is no longer available but if you go to our website you can purchase the new product that we have.” He provided me with the website and instead of purchasing a product with 5 licenses I would now have to purchase individual licenses and each license would cost me $40 or almost $180 instead of the old product being $79.99 Canadian for 5 licenses. He did offer me a 20% discount if I made the purchase but you can imagine that I quickly said I needed to talk to my business partner before making that purchase.

Yes, so an out of date website meant over half an hour of my time getting frustrated only to discover that I now need to look at what I want in the anti-virus software and figure out where I will be purchasing it. If you are going to discontinue a product make sure that the first place that it is removed is from the website. If a person can easily find it on a current webpage you should still be selling it. Also instead of telling me that my address was invalid I should have received a message that “This product is no longer available.” An out of date website can really impact a consumers impression of a business and my impression of this business is not good right now.

Now I must go and figure out our new anti-virus program as that is the next project on my list of things to do.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mobile Devices - please look up

It seems like most people spent most of their time looking at their mobile devices and actually miss what is going on around them. When you look around either when you are walking on a street, in a mall or sitting somewhere it seems that most people are looking down at their device and not seeing their surroundings.

At one store I saw a sign and I loved it. “We will be pleased to serve you when you are not on your mobile device.” Yes this may sound rotten but in a lot of ways it is great because why should someone try and serve a customer that either texting or talking on their mobile device and not giving the server the attention that they should be getting. I have actually seen in a store that a person has made their entire purchase at a checkout without saying anything to the cashier because they were talking on their mobile device. If you need to take a call either ask the person if you can call them back or step aside and then make your purchase after you have finished your call or chat.

There has been times when I have seen people standing in line and on their device and not hear a cashier identify which cash is free. I was behind the person when this happened and I waited for a couple of seconds and then leaned over and let the person know which cash they should have been going to. I made sure I said it loud enough so the person they were on the call with understand that people were frustrated and were walking in line as well.

Now mobile devices have actually become a danger because people are walking and staring at their screens and not watching where they are walking. This can mean that they end up walking into intersections, walking into traffic or walking into other people because they just don’t see where they are going. I know that there have been times when I have been walked into by someone that is too busy looking at their device to see where they are going. If a chat is so important that you need to be totally involved in it and not watching where you are going it is time to stop and find the chat and then continue on to where you are going. Maybe some of these people are also watching videos on their devices and just don’t think about how they are endangering themselves and others.

Even in food courts and restaurants you see a lot of people sitting at tables with other people and everyone is looking at their devices and not chatting with the people they are sitting with. Some of these people may be texting between themselves but in some cases they are watching videos or chatting with others. I think actual talking is something that is missing from most people’s life now. Texting seems to be the way some people do all of their communication and that isn’t good. Texting has so many abbreviations that people are forgetting how to either write full sentences or talk to others.

How often at concerts are people looking at the screen of their device instead of watching the concert. I have heard even some performers have requested that people put their devices down and watch the concert. I think it is something that more performers need to do so that people realize that sitting and holding their device up in front can be blocking the view of someone else and also a distraction.

Yes, mobile devices can assist you in some methods of communication but then there are the people that are seeing that the mobile device is their only way to communicate. When you are walking around, please look up and see where you are going and who is around you. When you are sitting with someone else at a table or even on transit try to talk to the person and not through the texting or chat on your device. You would be surprised what you are missing by always looking at your device.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Vendors and some frustrations

Being a small business owner means that I am going to have my mobile device on most of the time. Off hours are when you can get the emergency calls from clients with issues or you are just trying to focus on getting some of your own tasks completed. Vendors seem to think that everyone should be available to read email or answer phone calls all the time.

We have been dealing with some vendors lately and they just don’t seem to understand that there is a limit of how many notifications and phone calls I want to get from you. So here is a list of some of our frustrations with vendors.

  1. Send too many emails – there is a limit to how much I want to receive from a vendor. If you have something new to tell me great but don’t keep telling me the same information over and over again.
  2. Too many reminders about event or webinars – send me an email about the event and one reminder closer to the date of the event. Do not send me constant reminders about registering for an event/webinar. If I am not interested or unable to go I will not be registering just to say I registered for the event. Also, ensure your system knows that I have already registered for the event and then stop reminding me to register for something that I have already registered for.
  3. IT people have their work devices on all or most of the time – don’t send emails in the evenings or on weekends to ensure it is at the top of the email list in the morning or worst yet on Monday morning when I can be dealing with more IT emergencies than normal. If you email me on the weekend because you have a system that you can schedule when things are sent you just show that you don’t respect potential clients/resellers.
  4. Don’t assume a domain will result in big business as it might be my personal email address that I registered with and not work – it is amazing how many vendors think because your email is an ISP email address you work for them. We have received calls from vendors assuming we worked for Rogers because our personal email account was with Rogers. Yes this could also happen with the and subscribers as well. An email account with internet providers cannot guarantee that you work for them.
  5. Know the holidays of where you are phoning – If you are a regional sales rep ensure that you understand all the statutory holidays in the areas that you are phoning. There are a number of American companies that seem to forget that our holidays in Canada are not the same as they have. We recently received a phone call on a statutory holiday and the person was amazed that I quickly could say they were from the States. Yes, once again showing that even with a title of sales rep for Eastern Region it doesn’t mean you know what the Eastern Region is other than it is Eastern North America. Please if you are going to be calling an area outside either your state or province ensure you know various holidays. Put the holidays in your calendar so that at the beginning of each day you can check to ensure you are not calling someone who isn’t at work but you are calling on their mobile device.
  6. Call during normal business hours – preferably between 10 and 4 – this time is listed because the first hour of a day is trying to clean up emails and such that have landed after you walked away from work the last business day. Also, the first hour is when you are juggling the various emergencies that can land when clients discover issues when they start their day. The 4 pm is because by then most of the front facing work is done and it is now time for the small business owners to try and wrap up for the day themselves. We had one vendor that really enjoyed calling between 5:30 and 6 pm when he was driving home from work. Great for him as he was being productive but of course it meant it either interrupted us making dinner or interrupted the work that was getting accomplished for clients.
  7. Know the size of the business you are calling – this means checking a website to get a little bit of an idea about the business before you call. Also a lot of small businesses go to conferences where the products are for bigger business because we are the trusted advisors. Don’t ask me “Why I went to conference x” because I would have gone for a reason not just because it was something to do.

These are some of the frustrations that we have encountered when dealing with various vendors. Some vendors are great and respect our schedule and some don’t. If you are a vendor and you really want to make a good impression on a potential client or reseller do a little bit of homework before you can. You will get a lot further ahead if you have. You will always find vendors that understand their regions and potential clients and value them. Also, when you get that call during a time that isn’t good let the vendor know and why you are upset as this might be the only way they learn.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Online Community Groups

I belong to a number of online community groups and I have noticed a few things about them and some of what I am seeing is frustrating. A number of these groups are on Facebook and it is great as it means that there are people from around the world connecting on something they have in common. The groups that I belong to on Facebook have to do with my crafts so those are knitting, crocheting and cross-stitch.

So here are some of my frustrations:
1. The community group is not google. If you are looking for a pattern that you want to make don’t ask the group to find the pattern for you. So many times someone comes to to the group and all they say is “I am looking for a pattern for x” please help me find it. If you are asking the group to find a pattern for you it can get very frustrating because in a lot of cases people don’t know other people’s like, dislikes or tastes and what yarn they prefer using.

2. People not keeping negative comments to themselves. As the groups are from all over the world the temperature is different as well. I may be working on a lace shawl and you may be working on mittens and scarves. Don’t tell me that what I am working on isn’t appropriate for the currently temperature where you are. My temperature could be different and what I like working on is probably different as well.

3. I can’t find a post from two weeks ago, can you help me find it. This is one that normally makes me laugh because of course after two weeks in a community group there can be hundreds of pictures, discussions and pattern suggestions and you are asking us to help you find one specific post. In Facebook there is a great feature and that is you can save a post. This means that if you like something it would be a great idea to save it and then you will be able to find it yourself later.

4. I need your opinion. Now this is the one that can result in both negative and positive feedback. In a lot of cases if you do have a negative comment it is best to not say anything so that it doesn’t cause the blow ups that happen too often in this type of group.

So these are some of the frustrations that can result in being part of a community group. In a lot of cases just being able to quickly scan the group is what works best. Reading all the posts and comments can get very frustrating so it is best not to do that. I understand that everyone needs an outlet for their projects but there are times when it is just best to not say anything.

There are a couple of the community groups that I participate in and they are basically very positive. Yes, people will have their opinions about things but at least they are kept out of the group. The other thing that I have found in these couple of groups is if someone is looking for a pattern they are looking for a specific pattern and are asking if someone has it and is willing to part with it.

If you participate in community groups especially on Facebook or a community like they be prepared for some interesting discussions. It is up to you if you participate in them or not and if you comment or not. For me, I love seeing what other people are making and it can give me ideas of what I would like to work on. It can also give me some feedback on some of the yarns, etc and how people are finding working with it. It is now time for me to go back and see what comments have been made in the last few hours and especially time to check out what some people have completed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016 in review and 2017 goals

I am sitting here looking back at 2016 and seeing what I accomplished and am now trying to figure out the goals for 2017.  I am happy with what I was able to accomplish and look forward to seeing what I can do in 2017.

2016 goals
1. Blog a minimum of four times each month. - total number of blogs written in 2016 was 107
2. Get home office area organized – ongoing process
3. Continue to get material up on the DLK Life website – still working on improving the website
4. Release two cross-stitch patterns under DLK Life label – released the Butterfly pattern and did quite a bit of designing but no other patterns were released in 2016.
5. Write more for Konecny Consulting and/or DLK Life – did some writing for Konecny Consulting and will continue this.
6. Continue to write every day – wrote every day in 2016 and actually have written for 1104 continuous days which is just over 3 years without missing a day.

I am going to continue to try and write every day as I find that it does help me keep a focus and actually help me accomplish other tasks. My writing is where I can express things and no one else sees that part of what I write. My blog is what makes me very happy and I look forward to continuing to work on getting more blog entries written.

2017 Goals
1. Blog a minimum of 4 times a month
2. Get DLK Life website updated and keep it updated.
3. Keep home office organized
4. Write more for Konecny Consulting and DLK Life

I am not sure what 2017 has in store but I know that I am going to be working on my writing as much as I can and will see what happens with it. I continue to have some personal goals that I want to achieve but again I will not post them on my blog.

Sunday, January 1, 2017