Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Personal touches

Some small personal touches
I think a lot of us have a few personal touches around our offices. I know that both in my office at home and our executive office I have a few things that are my own personal things.

For me the personal touches vary depending on which office I am at. In our executive office I have a picture of my husband and myself on one desk, along with my CAPM certificate and a silk rose in a vase on the other desk. We have kept it very simple in that office as we also don't spend as much time in that office as I do in the home office area.

Rose bush and dragon butterfly
In the home office because it is normally just the two of us that see it I have added a few more things that mean something to me. I love having flowers around me and that is why I have two silk carnations in a vase on one speaker and a live rose bush on the other speaker. These are things that I can see all the time when I am working at my desk.

On the speaker with my carnations are two bears, one that I made myself and another one that says “Please smile” and both of these bears have wonderful memories for me and that are why they sit where I can always seem them. On the other speaker with my rose bush is a dragon which I recently got and it has butterfly wings on it. Of course butterflies are something I love so that works very well in my line of sight as well.

A little friend
Now the one fun thing that I do have is a little blue stuffed bear that has been sitting on my desk for a little while. It is a bear that I stuffed on one of our mini vacations and I do like him. The other day I looked at my monitor and noticed that there was someone peaking out from behind the monitor and it happened to be this little bear.  My husband had been sitting in my visitor chair and when I wasn't looking put the bear here and it made me smile so that is where he is now sitting.

Personal touches in an office area can make such a difference. There are some offices that personal items are not allowed and that is their rules. For me, I feel that the little personal touches can help a person focus on their tasks a little easier. I don't mean having tons and tons of things on and around your desk, I mean keeping it simple but making it feel like your own area. I know that there are times where I can look at one of the items and it gives me that couple of second break that I need and then I go back to work.

What are your personal touches in your office? Do they bring back wonderful memories of someone or someplace? Yes your personal touches are your own and everyone is different.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tourist in your own city

Toronto sign with City Hall
How many times have you taken a day to just be a tourist in your own city? It can be a lot of fun and something that I think everyone should do. I know that we try and be a tourist every now and again as it gives us a different view of our own city.

There is always a lot of things going on in and around Toronto that we decided that we were going to take a day to just go and see what was going on. Of course, this summer we have also been hosting the Pan Am and ParaPan Am games so another good reason to head downtown to see what was really going on.

Pan Am Cauldron
Being a tourist in your own city can be a lot of fun because it means you are going to look at things a little differently than you would normally look at them. Our adventure was to see the sign that was near city hall and then off to see the Pan Am cauldron. Both of these areas were extremely busy with visitors and also with people just walking through the area as it was a work day.

The walk around downtown Toronto can be so different if you just slow down a little bit and not deal with all the rush that is going on around you. I know, we took our time and enjoyed seeing the various parts of what was going on around the areas we were in. We also had the chance to see some athletes visiting the various areas.

The Pan Am cauldron is in an ideal location because it was lite just outside the Roger's Centre and it is also at the base of the CN Tower as well as just outside the Ridley's Aquarium. The location means that if you are visiting the cauldron there are also other things that you might want to do within a minute or two walk which is great.

Being a tourist in your own city let's you see what others see and it is also a nice break from the every day things we do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Saftey locks on windows

This past couple of days have been hard and that is because of an issue where a child fell 15 floors and died. The little boy fell out a window and there was suppose to be a safety lock in place to prevent the window from being opened all the way.

In apartment buildings and condo's there is a rule that all windows can only open around 3-4 inches so ensure that no one can fall out of the window. I know that in our building they had installed safety locks on the windows to ensure that the windows will only open so far. For us as part of the fire alarm annual testing they also inspect to ensure that the window locks are in place and have not been moved.

The safety locks can be a bother because it restricts the windows from opening very far but it also means that people cannot accidentally fall out the window. The safety locks normally are put into place by building management and a special device is needed to remove them or at least that is what happens with our devices.

I have noticed that even in hotels that have windows that open there is a limit to how far the windows can open because of the safely regulations. I like knowing that windows cannot be opened very far for the safety factor. Yes, it means that the cooler air cannot come in as much as you may want it but it is the safely that really matters.

If you remove those safety locks (get management to remove them) you need to know that the only reason they are being removed is to add an air conditioner to the window and not to just get more air into the room.

Safety locks are there for safety.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The right environment

All of us have those spots where we can accomplish a specific task. It could be a comfy chair, sitting outside or even going for a walk.

Knowing which environment helps you accomplish that specific task is very important. I have a couple of spots where I can accomplish specific tasks and then I have other areas where other tasks can be accomplished easier.

As a crafter there are spots where crafting is a lot easier than other spots. I have a comfy chair in my office area where I can do some crafting if I want and I also have the chesterfield where a lot of my crafting is done. Both of these spots have excellent lighting as well because that is something that I need when I am doing some of my crafts.

Writing can be done in a number of spots and I know I have done writing in a number of these spots. Yes, for me when I want to do a lot of writing, sitting at my desk is normally the best because it means my computer is available and I am not trying to balance it on my knee. I also have spots where I can write which isn't my desk and I use them sometimes when I need a break from the desk. Again the comfy chair in my office is available as well as the chesterfield. In the summer, a chair on the balcony works as well and that usually means I am writing notes on paper or sometimes I do use the computer out there. Writing for me isn't even limited to sitting at home because I have written in a number of other areas. Yes, as a passenger in a car, I have written some ideas down because something came to mind and I was able to capture it. For me, writing happens where it happens and there are times when my husband just smiles when he comes back from grabbing coffees and I have my notebook open and I am capturing the ideas that just came to mind.

Everyone has difference spots where they can accomplish their tasks. The right environment but not always work and you have to realize that. For me there are days when writing doesn't work at home so I go out and sit somewhere else for a little while. Just a bit of a change in the environment can make a big difference and recharge you.

Not everything can be done if different locations but having the right environment for what you like doing is very important.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Street Vendors

I think all of us in the larger cities have come across the various street vendors, especially in the downtown areas.

There are various types of street vendors and that is what I am going to be explaining. Of course some of the street vendors require a license to be in a specific spot and other street vendors don't need that license. I know that in Toronto, the street vendors that are selling hot dogs, hamburgers, etc are required to have a license for a specific spot. In some ways that is great because you know who it is and they will be in a standard location all the time.

Now the other type of street vendors are the ones that just seem to float around and not have any specific location. I know that in our area we have two different types of street vendors that appear and disappear very quickly. The first one is the ice cream truck that will appear and park for a while and then go off to see if they can make more money somewhere else. The other vendor is the trucks that pull up and start selling fruit and vegetables from their vans/trucks.

The second type of vendor is the one that I am talking about because these are the ones where I have the biggest concern. This type of vendor worries me because they don't seem to have a license visible to identify that they are licensed to sell the products that they are selling. Also these vendors put all their products on the boulevard and block parts of the street. So when these vendors are around the neighbourhood they case a few problems. One, when people are looking at the goods on the boulevard they are sometimes blocking the sidewalk especially if they have a stroller and they leave the stroller on the side to walk around and check the produce out. Now another issue that they can cause is when people park illegally or double park to pick up some produce. These vendors could cause a major accident and they wouldn't be held responsible for causing it.

I don't mind the vendors that are licensed to be in areas or even the ice cream trucks, it is the vendors that don't have the licenses clearly visible that bother me. If you want to sell your produce or goods please considering all of those around you and make sure you are doing it legally and safely.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Don't be afraid to ask questions

So many of us go to various presentations and sit and really wander what the presenter is actually talking about. Maybe it's a term that they keep using or something that just doesn't seem to make sense to us the way they are explaining it.

In IT there are times when people use various acronyms and don't explain what they are referring to before they start using the acronym. It can be very confusing because an acronym can mean a few things or it can even be a new one that you haven't heard before so you send a lot of time trying to figure out what the person is talking about.

A good presenter shouldn't mind if you ask questions because if you don't understand something you probably aren't the only one. It is sometimes a topic that is very advanced and that is what the problem is or maybe the presenter has made some assumptions about their audience without really knowing the level of the audience.

At one presentation I kept having an issue with one concept so I decided that maybe it was just me that didn't understand it so I asked the presenter one on one. The presenter was great and actually explained it to me and then I got it but during the explanation he realized that it was something that was missing in the presentation. Yes, it was an assumption that was being made about the audience. What was really nice was the presenter asked if I was going to his next talk and I was. During his next presentation on the topic, that I had been confused in, he made a point of making sure that the point was explained so that everyone understand eliminating the assumption. Since me asking my questions, I have seen that presentations relating to this process have more clearly explained the total process and didn't make assumptions.

It is important to realize that when you ask your questions you aren't trying to embarrass the presenter but get an understanding. There are some questions that are good to ask publicly but there are some questions that if possible are best asked privately or in a smaller group.

Asking a question is normally good because you gain the knowledge and understanding that is needed. Just remember that presenters are human and may not have all the answers quickly available during a presentation. If you don't get an answer but they have given a contact, reach out and maybe then you will get the answer you are looking for.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Sounds Around You

Rooster in the city
Have you ever just sat and listened to all the various sounds that are around you at a given time?

It can be very interesting to just sit and listen for a while to see the different sounds that are always around us. I have had the opportunity to do that and it is amazing what you can hear when you actually focus on just listening. A lot of this happened over the last while for me as I had to deal with a sound that I shouldn't have had to deal with in a city. We actually had a rooster running around in the property beside us for around 6 or 7 weeks. At first it wasn't too bad because it didn't crow too often. By the end of the first month I know that I was getting very frustrated with the crowing because it went from once in a while to very frequently.

Now what I need to explain is we live in a high destiny area and it all apartment buildings. So the rooster was roaming around the apartment building property beside us. The rooster isn't allowed to be in our city as it is considering a farm animal and they are not allowed to be kept in the city. We did call into the city to report it and it was a challenge because they wanted an apartment unit number to associate the rooster with. The best part was after about 5 or 6 weeks my husband decided to go and see if he could figure out the unit where the rooster was being kept. This was when we found out that it was roaming freely on the property and the super would take it in at night. Finally after pictures and a unit number we were able to get the results we wanted and the rooster is no longer around us.

Of course we all deal with a large amount of sound around us all the time but it is the odd ones that stand out the most. I can sit and normally I hear children playing, vehicles passing the building and even sometimes doors being closed but the rooster was the sound that was very odd to hear in our neighbourhood.

One day when you have a little bit of time just sit and listen to your surroundings and you may be surprised at what you hear. I hope you don't hear a rooster unless you are at a fair or near a farm but see what you hear.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fighting the distractions

How many of us deal with a number of distractions each day? A distraction could be someone talking near to where we are working, someone coming in to visit or even the internet.

I know that I sometimes fight the distraction of the internet when I am trying to write. I find that when I start to lose my focus I turn to the internet to see what there is I can read or lose myself in. Of course the lose myself in isn't the good part because that is when I realize that the 10 minutes I was going to allow myself has turned into more than an hour. I think I am like others and when you are trying to find the small break that you need you forget that you need to watch the time so that you can get back to the project you should be working on.

One way that I have found that sometimes works for me is to actually unplug the internet from my computer so that I just can't access it. My other way of getting the writing done that I need to do is actually do some of my writing on my transformer notebook because on it the internet isn't as good so it is harder to get distracted before I get frustrated. Both of these methods do work because it means that I don't lose all the time browsing the internet or playing games on it when the writing is the main focus.

I am very lucky that I don't have the people that are dropping by to visit or people talking near where I work most of the time. That is one of the big advantages of having a small business because you don't have the extra people around when you are trying to focus on the task that you need to get accomplished. When we go to our Executive office we do have the people talking near where our office is and that is sometimes a distraction because it breaks the focus but at least I can close the door and block most of it.

We all have to fight the various distractions that are around us. The distraction could be as simple as the pile of stuff sitting on the corner of your desk to the internet to other people. When you need to focus on a task at hard figure out a means of not letting those distractions get in the way and see what happens.

If you do succeed in avoiding the distractions and you get the task done remember you do need to make sure that you reward yourself by doing something and yes just for a few minutes. I have now finished writing this so I am going to take my 5 minutes and am going to go and check Facebook.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Looking out a window

Office with view
I think everyone at some point during a day looks out a window to see what is going on around them.

For me, the window can give me a lot of different ideas for my writing as well as tell me what is going on around me. I have a desk at two different windows so I get two different views. One window is at home and the other is in our office. In both cases my desk faces the window so that I can look out and see my surroundings.

The window at home is a bit higher so I can only see the tops of buildings and at least some traffic in the distance. This is where I do some of my writing and especially on the weekends. The window at the office is a bigger window so I can see the road and sidewalk around the office. Both of the windows are up higher so I also get a nice view of the trees in the distance.

For me a window is what helps me think and get my ideas down on paper. I really don't know how much I actually see that is going on around me most of the time but at least I can see out. Everyone has a different idea of a window in the work place. I have heard people say that they couldn't work if they could see out because it would distract them. Other people like me just need to see some of the daylight as well as the openness that a window gives you.

A window can give you a focus point or it can give you a distraction. There isn't one situation that works for everyone but for me a window helps me think and helps me feel better with my surroundings.

I am writing this in our office where we recently moved. We moved from an office that was inside with no windows to an office with a view. I know that I can be found looking out the window but if you were to ask me what I was looking at I wouldn't be able to tell you. I think half the time I am just looking out into space and not really seeing anything.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Goal review - mid-year

July for me is time to review my goals that I set at the beginning of January.  I want to see how I am doing and if things need to be changed and worked on differently.

2015 goals
1.  Blog four time each month – been able to accomplish this so far this year
2.  Get home office area organized – a work in progress as I get it clean and then it is quickly a mess again
3.  Get material up on the DLK Life website -- both designs and writing – this continues to be done
4.  Release one cross-stitch pattern under the DLK Life label – working on a couple of designs to see which one will be released
5.  Get more writing up on either Konecny Consulting and/or DLK Life to show my writing skills – work in progress

I am very happy with the progress that I have been making with my DLK Life goals and now to continue working on them to see what they look like by the end of the year.  I continue to strive to improve my writing and look forward to posting even more things on DLK Life and Konecny Consulting website.

I know that I have been able to post blogs frequently on DLK Life so that is making me feel so much better.  I don't seem to be fighting to get the posts ready to go so that is a big step since last year.  Now to see if I can get more writing done for work over the next six months.