5 Tips For a Stress-Free Vacation

Summer’s coming. Have you planned your vacation yet?

What’s that? You’re too busy to take a vacation?

The experts say that taking a vacation is a great way to improve your mental health, find creative inspiration, renew relationships with your loved ones, and even become more productive. And yet, we find so many excuses not to get away.

I’m guilty of it too. There is always something something that needs to be done, a commitment to honor, a deadline to meet. And before you know it, the year has gone by and you are trying to convince yourself that next year you will take that vacation. Sound familiar?

Instead, make a commitment to yourself, and to your family, and take that much-needed getaway this year. Step away from your work and get ready to step into a relaxing vacation with these 5 tips:

1. Clear your schedule. Pick a week, or two, and mark it on your calendar. Do not plan anything else during your time away. That includes conference calls. Let everyone at work know that you will be unavailable. If you can delegate tasks to a colleague or assistant, even better.  Also, avoid setting any deadlines during your immediate return, so that you don’t feel as if something is hanging over your head the whole time you are trying to relax.

2. Set a budget. There is no point in going on vacation if you are going to stress over money the entire time you’re away. Instead, figure out what you can afford to spend and set aside that amount in advance. Having a realistic budget in place will help you to relax more while on vacation, and you won’t spend the rest of the year paying for it.

3. Determine your priorities. What is most important for you on vacation? Would you rather enjoy 5-star dining or full-day excursions? With your budget in place, you can start to figure out what is most important for you and plan where to spend your money accordingly.

4. Book in advance. I’m not talking about trying to re-create the Griswold’s European vacation, where every second of the day is planned out in minute detail, but do at least do some research to determine which hotels, restaurants, and companies you would like to do business with before you leave home. Make reservations early, if possible, so that you can avoid having to scramble at the last minute when your preferred attraction is booked. A little bit of planning can go a long way when you are in a strange area and are trying to decide what to do.

5. Unplug. Once you leave for your vacation, turn your phone off. Leave the laptop at home. Focus your concentration on your loved ones. Set up an out-of-office auto-reply for your email so that people will know that they should not expect a response from you until you return. Provide the name of someone else they can contact should they need immediate assistance. While you’re at it, do the same for your voice mail. You deserve to be able to relax without such distractions, and your family deserves some time with you when they are not competing for your attention.

Remember, the world will not end while you are away. (And if it does, wouldn’t you rather be laying on a beach somewhere rather than stuck in the office?) You can catch up on anything you missed when you return happier, more rested, and with a renewed energy that helps make you more productive.

All this being said, I am taking my own advice this year and going on vacation. How about you?

7 Easy Ways to Personalize the Holidays

As we gather around our homes and give thanks for the year’s blessing the holidays season is kicked into full gear. This is one of my favorite times of year when we think about peace, of how fortunate we have been during the past year and how we can help others who may not have had our good fortune as the year comes to a close. Unfortunately the holidays can also be a very hectic and very impersonal time of year when so much of the season has been commercialized. But there are some simple and enjoyable ways to personalize the holiday season this year. The following ideas give you seven great ways to make your holidays personal and share that joy and creativity with you friends, co-workers, neighbors, and loved ones.

[Read more...]

Surviving Thanksgiving: 10 Handy Tips to be Thankful For

FallVeggiesWith fall in full force, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and will be here before we know it. While the holiday season is kicking off, it can be a great time of warmth, compassion, family memories, and reconnecting with loved ones. Unfortunately; however, it can also be a very stressful time full of last minute shopping, hectic travel, lost directions, awkward parties, and a lot of juggling to fit in all of those events and last minute appointments. As hectic as it can seem, with a little planning and these 10 simple tips you can sit back, relax, and keep your sanity during the Turkey Day chaos. [Read more...]

Life Hacks for The Family: How Family Business Meetings Can Simplify Your Life

When done properly, business meetings can be very productive for any small business or corporation by helping you to stay on top of the financial direction of your business, plan projects, and chart progress, but did you know that these same great benefits can help simplify your life at home to? Scheduling regular business meetings for your family can be a great way to streamline your home life and connect with family members on important issues. Family business meetings can keep you organized and gives everyone an opportunity to feel like they are an important part of the family and that they have a role in the goals and achievement of the family unit. [Read more...]

10 Hacks for Getting the Kids Off to School in the Morning with Your Sanity Intact

If you’re like most parents, the peaceful moment after getting your kids on the school bus is your favorite time of the day. Fighting and tantrums regarding unfinished homework, breakfast choices and that ugly purple shirt can get the day off to bad start for all involved.  Fear not, a peaceful morning is just a few hacks away.

1. Wake Up 30 Minutes Before Your Kids

Parents like to sleep late. We day dream about the days before kids when we could sleep as late as we want without having to wake to coordinate backpacks and referee arguments. Still, waking up at the same time as the kids will only create more confusion and chaos. When you’re awake before the kids you can take some time to have a cup of coffee and prepare for the impending chaos. Parents who wake early get to take their time in the bathroom without rushing and prepare for the morning already having shaken away the morning cobwebs. This puts them in a better mood when the kids wake and keeps the crankiness at bay. [Read more...]

Taking Control of Your Life: How Anyone Can Create A Life Plan for Better Living

Most of us would never dream of starting or running a business without a carefully thought out business plan, yet we often live our lives without any plan or premeditation. Without that intentional approach to life we are often overwhelmed and stressed out. We all have goals, whether it is to loose weight, save money, stay healthy, advance our career, or connect with love ones. But how are you going to actually achieve any of your goals or stay on track without a plan to get there? This is where creating a Life Plan comes in.

You may hear a lot about creating a Life Plan in business success circles, but developing a Life Plan can be useful in your every day life whether your are a corporate executive, a college student, or a stay at home mom. Creating a life plan helps you to organize your life in ways that you may never have thought of before. [Read more...]