Thursday, November 26, 2015

Coffee Shop Escapes

Have you noticed how busy some coffee shops are during the week?

It is very interesting to see how busy some coffee shops are during a week day now. A coffee shop can be a place to have a meeting, do work while on the road or just to escape the office for a while. In a lot of cases a coffee shop gives you a break from the normal routine.

We use a coffee shop sometimes as a place to work but also as an escape from our own office. There are times when the change of scenery can really help regain a focus. A coffee shop can also be a place where we can discuss some of the projects we are working on without other distractions.

It is amazing how much work you can accomplish when in a different location. For us a coffee shop is a chance to unplug from the internet and focus on some other work. Yes, when we are in a coffee shop we are not on the “free” wifi that most provide. The “free” wifi can also be a dangerous connection as you never really know who could be on the connection doing bad things.

The coffee shop environment is such a great spot to be able to focus on something. There are times when an hour sitting in a coffee shop results in more work getting accomplished than even two hours in the office.

The coffee shops have now become the spot where even University and College students can do their homework. I know this as I have done some of my College assignments sitting in a coffee shop. The ability to focus on a single task is wonderful.

A coffee shop has now become a remote office for so many people. You can have your meetings or work along, it's up to you. A coffee shop can also be a place where writers go to write. How you use a coffee shop is up to you and don't be surprised at all that people will be working around you.

It's now time for me to finish up my coffee and get back to the office.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Being a pedestrian

There are dos and don't when being a pedestrian and that is something I think people forget sometimes when they are busy.

One of the biggest things I see people forgetting is that when they are going to cross a road is to look to make sure that drivers have seen them. I have noticed at intersections people just starting to cross without even checking to make sure that the cars have stopped around them. Cars that are turning right sometimes think they can beat the light and that is when problems happen.

Mobile devices have also caused problems for pedestrians because they become so involved in whatever they are doing on their mobile devices that they don't look to see what traffic is doing. One day we were out and noticed a lady almost cross a busy road on a red like because she was looking down at her device and not at the intersection. For me, if I need to check something on my mobile device while walking I will move over to the side of the sidewalk and normally stop. I will not check my device while crossing a road because I need my attention on the other pedestrians and the vehicles around me.

In our area the one thing that I see is how people look for traffic before they cross the road. People have a habit of starting to cross the road before looking for traffic and they are only looking at the traffic going in one direction. Yes, it is normally the traffic farthest from where they are so they don't see the vehicles that are going to come into contact with them first. The other thing around our area is people figure they can cross anywhere on the street and cars will just stop for them to let them finish crossing. I am really amazed that there aren't more accidents involved pedestrians in our area.

Weather is another factor that I have been causes major issues with vehicles and pedestrians. Pedestrians in bad weather figure that they have the right to stay dry so don't look for vehicles in intersections. Umbrellas play a big part of that because some people hold their umbrellas so low that they can't even see anything around them.

If you have ever driven or walked in downtown Toronto during rush hour you will understand this point. People are in such a rush to either get to or from work to their trains that they forget about anyone else. There have been instances where people are being pushed out of the way so that one person can get their train. These people think that they are the only individuals wanting to get where they are going. At intersections I have seen streams of people walk against the light so that they can to where they are going not thinking about the fine that they could get for doing this. Also cars seem to be very impatient during rush hour because they also want to get to where they are going. Can't people just slow down just a little bit and thing of others. If you have to run to or from your train everyday maybe you need to look at your schedule and adjust it.

Pedestrians do have their rights but vehicles also have their rights as well. Remember when you dealing with the road and vehicles, the vehicles are a lot bigger than you are and cause a lot more damage to you than you can to them. Take a second when you are at an intersection to make sure that the cars see you and if that thing on your mobile device is so important take a break from walking and finish dealing with it.

Pedestrians are all of us so let's take those couple of seconds to think about our surroundings before we do something that could result in the end of our life.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Balance of work and home

Now a days a lot of us deal with the various pressures of work and home life and the balance between the two of them. For me it is a challenge because home is where quite a bit of my work is actually done so that sometimes makes the balancing of the too a little harder.

What can be a challenge when having an office at home is making sure that you find the time to walk away from that environment and remember that there are other things to do. Of course, the home office is where all the bills are paid for both work and home and even the email is mostly done in that area as well. What I have found works is normally around dinner time I will turn off the computer saying that the rest of the evening is going to be away from it and I will do other things. Now yes, I may walk away from the computer but my mobile device is always close by so that I can even deal with emails away from the computer. I just find that being able to walk away from the computer helps me make sure I have a balance.

There are times when the pressure of work does impact home and vice verse. There are the appointments that have to be done during the day that impact what I can do for work so that is one of the things. Another thing that impacts home life is when there is something that needs to get done and am working against a deadline. The deadline may mean that I work some evenings trying to focus on the task as I don't normally get as many business emails after work hours. The other impact to the home life is some meetings have to be held in the evenings so that everyone can attend especially for one client that I work with. This is partly because of dealing with the various time zones in Canada.

Making sure that you can try and balance both work and home is something that can be difficult. I know that for us the weekends are when we try to do quite a bit of the home stuff but there are times weekends are for work. If this is the case we are fortunate that we can actually sometimes take some time during the week to get the home stuff done as well.

Just make sure that you do take the time for yourself no matter how you do it. In the world today it is harder to totally walk away from work but you have to try. We have actually found a method that works for us and in some ways helps us work better. When we are feeling that stressed and overwhelmed feeling instead of getting more stressed we will go to the gym for an hour and workout. The gym is a great place to actually put a lot of the things you are dealing with in the back of your mind and let them sit there for a while. Quite a few times after getting back from the gym that task that was a challenge before is a lot easier as the solution seems to come a lot quicker.

So whatever you do remember that there should be a balance between work and home. Give yourself a little bit of time to ensure you are being you and not just the work person.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Recently I had the opportunity to do a one day contract and it was a very different experience. The work I did was interesting in some ways but it also was a very long day but that isn't want bothered me. The interesting thing about the day was how some of the other people that were also working handled it.

Now what the job involved wasn't very difficult so that is nice but it was the working with the various people that made the day a challenge in some ways. When we all signed up to work we were told it was going to be a very long day and parts of it could be very slow and other parts of it would be extremely busy. We were also told that after a given time we may be able to leave quickly or we might have to stay for a while and help with various tasks. I went into the day knowing that I wasn't sure what time I would be leaving but I would try my best to see how quickly I could complete the various tasks so that I could leave.

One of the people that I was working with found out that she really wasn't cut out for the position that she was doing and she made sure that a bunch of us heard about it. She got frustrated with people and was very vocal about it which didn't help some of us. She also figured that at the given time she was going to be able to leave without doing any of the clean up that we were told was going to be part of our jobs. I ended up having to work with her on some of the clean up and she tried everything to get out of doing anything because she wanted to go home. My attitude was if we can get the things done we would be heading home quickly.

For me it was a different type of work and yes the day was long but at least once all the clean up was done I was quickly thanks and told I was able to leave. Now, the girl that had done all the complaining and didn't want to help clean up ended up having to stay longer than me. The supervisor found a task that someone had to do and I think because of all her complaining and not working she got the task.

The job that I did was work for Election Canada on Election Day and yes it was a different experience. If you went in with the right attitude it wasn't bad and I am glad that I did it.

I hope the girl found out that if you do your job that you said you would do and didn't complain that things would be a lot easier. A smile goes a long way to making a job a little pleasant and not letting all the little things get you down.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembering loved ones

Sitting and thinking of loved ones is something that most people do at some point. Remembering those that are no longer with us is something that is important. A person may not be physically here any longer but they are here in a different way.

A person is in our hearts and in our memories and that is what is very important. As I write this I am thinking about my own father who is no longer with us but he is still in my heart. My father died when I was just a child so I don't have memories of doing things with him but I have memories of hearing people talk about him. My father is someone I would have loved to get to know but I just didn't have a chance to do that. I keep a picture of him with me and I know that he is watching over me.

One thing that is very wonderful now is looking at my nephew and seeing my father in him. Both my nephew and I look like my father and I am very proud of that. Yes, growing up I didn't like being recognized as my father's daughter because I didn't get to know him. Now, I am very proud that I look like him and I always say that when someone asks who I take after. Seeing that my nephew looks like my father makes me happy because there is a person living that looks like those pictures I have seen of my father as a young adult.

We all have people that we remember and they don't have to be blood relations to be that loved one we think about. For me, I have people that I remember because of how they touched my life and helped me become who I am now. It's important to sometimes to just sit and think about these people because it helps you see who you became and why.

Some of my favourite memories include people that are no longer here with us. Remembering a smile, a kind word or a hug helps get us through those touch times. A person leaves their little footprint on each of us and each of us will remember the same person differently.

Take time to create memories with people that are important to you because the memories will last.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I think everyone has a calendar for some of the things that they do or would like to do. For us a schedule or calendar is extremely important to make sure that things are done when they are required to be completed. As a business owner there are deadlines that must be met for the government otherwise there are penalties that have to be paid.

A calendar for me is something that I check most mornings to make sure that there isn't anything that I will be missing that day. Also my calendar let's me see what is coming up in the next little while so that I know the time I have available to accomplish my work. If you had of seen my October calendar you would have noticed that there were a lot of things written on it and some of those were conferences. What I noticed is that in the spring there are a limited number of events that we normally go to and they are spread out. Now, October seems to be the month when a lot of the conferences and events are so that calendar is always extremely busy. This October there were even days when there were two conferences but luckily they were both close together and neither required a whole day attendance.

A calendar is a great communication device because it lets you see what is coming up but also what has happened in the past. For me, there are two calendars that I use most of the time and one is the one on my mobile device which has some of the events on it and then there is the paper calendar that is near my desk. The second calendar is the one where a lot of the other events and items get written on so that I can see what is happening in the future. I use my paper calendar to review the future events because it is a lot quicker to see the week ahead or even the month overview without having to click on the various days to see what the dot means.

The calendar is also a means of making sure that we both know what is coming up because in some cases, if we didn't write something down, we may miss that specific event. So yes, a calendar can be for a few key things or for a lot of what is going on. For me, the calendar lets me make sure that I am able to find the balance between work and personal life without missing things.

Our calendar isn't as full now with conferences, which is nice, so work is going to be accomplished. It is now time for me to go back and check the calendar to see what I should be working on.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Gym -- 12 weeks in

It is hard to believe but I have been going to the gym now for 12 weeks and am loving it. Of course my muscles sometimes don't like the after effects of the workout but I am feeling very good about going.

I continue to try some of the different equipment that is at the gym and now I think I have only a couple more pieces to try that are not in the free weight area. It has been interesting seeing how some of the equipment that I had such a hard time using at the beginning is getting easier and easier to use now.

The one machine that is used twice most times is the one for the abdominal muscles. I have been able to increase the weight that I have been doing on this machine so I know that it is making me stronger as doors are so much easier to open now.  Most of the weights that I started with have increased on all the machines and that is wonderful because I know I am getting stronger in general. I have found that I can do sit ups now that I wasn't able to do in the past and I enjoy doing the most of the time. For me to make sit ups work I have had to hold a 4 kg exercise ball while doing them but at least it means I can do them now. The only times I have had a problem doing them is after really working those same muscles on different equipment or while watching my husband try and do them beside me as he was having real problems doing them.

No, the weight hasn't been going down quickly but things have been getting easier for me to do. My briefcase doesn't feel as heavy as it did when I started going to the gym and I haven't taken things out of it. I think I may have even increased what I am carrying as I normally have a textbook wit me when I go to the office now. Our clothes are fitting differently as well which is a big thing and that shows we are doing the right things. We think the increase in muscle mass is currently getting in the way of weight dropping off faster.

This past week we decided that besides going to the gym we were going to try and do some walking that we haven't done before. The walk we decided to do was the walk home from the office instead of taking transit. The 6 km route isn't bad and it is something that we figured we were in shape now to do it. We accomplished this in just over an hour so not bad considering there were traffic lights and such that we had to deal with. This walk was accomplished after doing another 2.2 km walk earlier in the day so yes we pushed ourselves that day but felt good afterwards.

The gym is a place that I am still enjoying going and I am looking forward to seeing people that I haven't seen for a while and hoping that they notice a difference in me. While the weight isn't where I would like it to be yet but at least just being able to feel better in myself if a huge step.

The treadmill is still a piece of equipment that I love using and I am normally on it between 20 and 30 minutes most trips to the gym. I haven't tried a 5 km walk in a few weeks so I think it is time for me to try that again and see how fast I can now complete it. I can see that it should be under the hour mark now but not sure how much under the hour.

One goal that I have set for myself is for next spring/summer and that is to complete a 5 km event. Being able to complete that event in a good time would be very rewarding. If I could possibly run a little bit of it that would even be better but that will have to wait as I need to make sure I don't re-injure a knee that sometimes reminds me to slow a bit.

As I write this, I am sitting and feeling a few muscles that I used yesterday but I know that the pain isn't bad and it is worth it in the long run. I am getting stronger and fitter and that is what I wanted to do. 12 weeks of going to the gym have made a big difference in how I am feeling and I hope that this continues.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Entering transit vehicles

Lately I have noticed that a lot of people are not looking before they start to enter a transit vehicle. A door on a bus or train is used for both entering and exiting a vehicle. It is amazing to just sit and watch people at the door. It is interesting the number of people that as soon as the door open immediately start to get on the vehicle without looking to see if there is anyone exiting the vehicle using the same door.

While watching this on transit I have seen individuals push onto a vehicle by the person trying to exit the vehicle. It would only take a few seconds to let the person off the vehicle first and then get on. I do understand that some people wait to the very last minute to get to the door when exiting but I am talking about the people that are standing at or very near the door before the vehicle stops.

If this situation happened on the rare occasion it wouldn't be something that I noticed but this happens on almost every trip I take on public transit. During my trip into the office today I noticed this happen three times and that almost got me laughing on the bus. It is sometimes funny to see the almost accidents between the two individuals in the door way because the person entering just sees a door open and not the person standing in the doorway.

It really only takes a second to look up to make sure that the doorway is clear before you try and enter a vehicle. It does avoid the accident or even the frustration of getting banged when exiting a vehicle. In some cases people are too busy looking at their mobile device and in other cases they just don't look.

When going to enter a transit vehicle take that second to look up and make sure you aren't going to run into someone else. Yes, just looking up away from your mobile device could make your day just that little bit better and avoid that accident.