Improve your drive to work and de-stress

What do you listen to during your daily commute?  Is it your local radio station with your favorite music or the local news?  Would you like to read more and just cannot find the time?  I have a solution to maximizing the time you spend in your car going back and forth to work.

My solution is listening to books on CD.  Now, if you are a person that is easily distracted or has trouble listening and concentrating on driving, I don’t recommend this.  However, if listening to a book while you are driving is easy for you, you might consider it.  I find that it helps me de-stress and moves me into relaxation mode.

While books and CD can be expensive if you buy them, your local library has hundreds of books on CD of all varieties.  No matter what type of books you enjoy reading, the library probably has several that will meet your needs.  Also, with most libraries, you can reserve what books you want online and then pick them up at your convenience when they are ready.

My current favorite books are Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.  Have you started listening to books in your car?  Have you found that it helps you de-stress?  If so, let me know!


Why you have to have the right tools

My vacuum and I have had a rocky relationship for over 10 years.  We have had fights, disagreements and flat out assaults.  My vacuum could do 2-5 years if ever brought to trial.  I am also not the only one who doesn’t like it, my dog hates my vacuum and he has always been a pretty good judge of character.  If he is home when I vacuum, he barks and bites at it thinking that he will win the battle.  Unfortunately, neither my dog nor I have ever won the battle or for that matter the war with the vacuum.

Every year after Christmas, it goes on strike after the multitude of  needles from the tree have clogged it up.  We go through the same routine where I have to turn it over exposing its dusty underbelly and take it apart.  The vacuum doesn’t seem to  appreciate the invasion of privacy and usually retaliates with pinching my finger in some manner.  The expandable hose that allows me to clean the corners and crannies is a major source of conflict.  The problem is that it doesn’t expand.  When I pull it out and reach to get the dirt in question, it pulls the vacuum onto my head leaving me with a nice bump and usually some sharp words.  It is heavy and a bit like lugging around a packed piece of luggage over your carpet. 

I once owned this vacuum in part with a roommate.  When we moved into our own places we had to divide the things we bought together, which wasn’t much.  When it came to the vacuum, there was not a lot of debate.  My roommate said, “You take the vacuum.”  To which I asked, “What do you want in exchange?”  They replied, “Nothing, you can have it.”  In my opinion, this was one of the smartest decisions my roommate ever made.

Every year at Christmas, especially during our post Christmas fight and cleaning, I promise myself to get a new vacuum but I have yet to do it.  I have checked out Consumer Reports on vacuums, looked at them at the store and tried out various vacuums at my friend’s house.  I have oogled and admired many a vacuum at Costco.  If someone is talking about a vacuum, my ears perk up and sometimes out of the blue I will ask my friends, what do you think of your vacuum, do you like it?  Once they hear my story, the understand my plight.

Maybe this will be the year of the new vacuum.  Just writing this makes me want to once again check Consumer Reports and see what’s new in the vacuum world.  The moral of this story is to have good tools at your disposal.  You have heard the saying, if all you have is a hammer, everything becomese a nail.  Well if you don’t have the right tools, chores become more of a chore.  You also waste money on something that is not ideal and someday you will spend more money to replace it or will suffer with it to get what you paid for out of it.  From my experience, whether it be a vacuum, a rake, a garbage can, a mop, a printer or a watering can finding something that is easy to use and durable will make you happier when having to do household chores.


Being organized = less stress

Do you find yourself stressed and rushed as you leave for work? A little evening planning can alleviate the stress and get you to work early instead of late. The more that you do the night before to prepare for your day, the easier the morning can be for you. For example if you go to the gym after work, pack your gym bag the night before. That way, you won’t be running around trying to find your favorite gym shoes before you have had your morning cup of coffee. Another great tip is to make your lunch and your snacks for the day and have them ready to grab on your way out the door in the morning. You can save money by not eating out and it will probably be healthier too.

If deciding what to wear is always a challenge or takes up too much time, you can decide on your outfit and lay out your clothes the night before. This is also a great tip for children that struggle with getting out of the door on time. Another tip for kids is making sure that their backpacks with their home work, permission slips and gym clothes are packed and ready to go. Leaving those things to gather in the morning can lead to forgotten items or documents. Being organized helps make responsibility easy for children and hopefully their day will go better too.


The Art of Delegation

As a personal assistant, I see times where people have a hard time letting go. Whether that be letting go of things that are creating clutter in their life or that household task that could really be done by someone else. We are all too busy. Too busy at work, too busy at home and too busy in our minds. Learning how and when to delegate is a skill and being able to really let the task be done by the person you are delegating to can be an emotional journey. The main hurdle in delegating something to someone else is figuring out what tasks can be delegated. With good instructions and a person who is willing to listen and pay attention to the details, you can gain hours in your day to do the important things in your day that no one else can do but you. This could include things like going to the gym, reading a story to your children and sitting down after dinner to spend time quality time with your spouse.