Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Making time

A lot of us have crazy schedules and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to sit and take that time for yourself. What is very important is making sure that you do take that time for yourself and your loved ones because you never know when they aren’t going to be around to spend time with. When I am saying make time, I am not saying days and days, I am just saying is setting a little bit of time when you can sit down and relax and not worry about everything else that is going on around you.

For us, we try and take a bit of time each day when we can sit and chat about anything and everything. Of course, work is one of the topics that does come up, but we also make sure that we are chatting about other things that we have either seen or heard about. Making sure that the personal time has been achieved is very important.

Making time for your loved ones can also be a bit of a challenge because they also have busy schedules, so finding time that works for everything can be hard. For our families we try and make sure that we have either emailed, texted, or called, and then we set aside that bit of time when we can spend it together in person. With family not living close, it means that there needs to be more planning, but at least we make sure that we still find ways of communicating with them even when we can’t be together in person.

Making time even for yourself where you can do something that you enjoy is important. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but just that bit of time when you can forget about all the other demands on your life. For me, I have decided that I will try and spend 30 minutes each day doing something that I enjoy, and it has helped quite a bit. It gives me the time to focus on something enjoyable, but also that time when I can let the mind wander and see what happens. Making the time to do something relaxing is important, and spending time with those around you is also important. So next time when you are going to say, “I’m too busy”, remember that person that you were going to spend time with might not be there when you have the time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Your Computer Desktop


When you look at your computer desktop, is it a mess of different file icons, and program icons or is it neat and tidy with limited icons on the screen?

Now, the reason that this question is asked is to see if your desktop is part of the reason why your computer takes so long to start up when you power it up. Recently I was able to see a desktop on a monitor, and you couldn’t see very much of the background because of all the different icons that were there. This person was also complaining that his computer was no good because it just took way too long to start up.

Here are some questions that I asked this person about their computer.

  • How often do you reboot your computer?
  • Are all these icons on your desktop necessary?

Now these are the answers that I got.

  • I don’t reboot my system very often because it just takes way too long to start up again.
  • All of these icons are necessary so that I can do my job, and he immediately pulls up a photo that has nothing to do with work.

What is very important to understand is that a lot of the icons on the desktop were for files that he felt he needed to access quickly. Of course, these files were located on a server and not on his computer (or at least I hope they were on the server). I tried to explain to him that having all these file icons on his desktop was a major reason why his system took so long to startup. When you have icons on your desktop, what happens when the system starts up is it must look up each of these files so that it can draw it on the desktop. The more files you have on your desktop, the longer it is going to take for your system to start up. If you need access to these files quickly, it is better to have them in a folder elsewhere and then just the link to the folder on the desktop. The only time the files will be searched for is when you click the link.

So, the best thing you can do to ensure that your computer starts up at a reasonable speed is to limit the number of icons that you have on your desktop, especially icons that are to files. Shortcuts can be useful but remember that they can also impact how you work.


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Balcony Life

Here it is the middle of summer and yes, we have been enjoying the hotter days and evenings sitting on our balcony. It is always nice to be able to find that bit of time each day to sit and relax. Our balcony is a place where we can sit and enjoy a nice dinner as well because we have it set up in a way that the two of us can enjoy a meal.

Our balcony is also a place that we can pull out our computers and sit and work on those days when you just don't want to be inside anymore. Knowing that we can sit, and work here is something that has been important to us, as it makes meeting deadlines a little easier when focusing inside just isn't working.

Something that we have been doing for the last few years is growing flowers and even vegetables on our balcony. We started with tomatoes a few years ago, but that didn't work out too well, as the cherry tomatoes liked escaping just when they were ready to be picked and enjoyed. I think people below us wondering where all the tomatoes were coming from. Our superintendent at the time made a comment about how he was finding cherry tomatoes on his patio, and I laughed and said those were the escape artists from our balcony.

During the lock-down, we did try and get some flowers so that we could at least have something on the balcony for when we were stuck at home and not able to go out and about. Those flowers did work out pretty well, even through we were late getting them, so didn't get to enjoy the total beauty of the flowers that year.

For the last couple of years, we have been having some fun and that was adding vegetables back into the mix of what we are growing on our balcony. Last year we grew tomatoes and peppers, yes, some cherry tomatoes, but I kept a better eye on them, and we put up some netting along the edge of the balcony to try and catch the escape artists. The only thing about the tomatoes last year were try grew really well, and we ended up having a hedge on the edge of the balcony. Also, when it out extremely windy, the tomatoes plants sometimes wanted to fall over, so that also didn't help. The peppers did work out pretty well last year, and we had some sweet peppers that we were able to enjoy near the end of the season.

This year, what we decided was we were only going to grow peppers as well as some flowers, and I think it is working out so much better. We may not get as many vegetables from the balcony, but we are still enjoying it. We currently have one pepper that is getting very close to being picked, and then there are some peppers that are currently growing on some of the other plants.

Our balcony is our escape during those hot summer evenings, and it gives us a place where we can take care of our flowers and have the place where we can relax. The view from the balcony is pretty good as we can watch planes, and we can also watch what is going on in our own neighbourhood.

Don't be afraid to try and grow something on your balcony if you have one. Not everything is going to work out, but it is still fun seeing what grows and what doesn't grow. You may even be surprised what flowers return the coming year that aren't perennials. Enjoy your balcony when you can because it gives you that outdoor area without having to be around people.


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Planners and getting things done


I think a lot of us have a planner or calendar that we use to record that various appointments and meetings that we need to attend. Being able to figure out what works best for you is very important, and it can change over time. You may use a variety of methods of recording the various things that you need to accomplish each day, or just one thing that catches everything.

For us, I know that we have a calendar where we both record the various appointments and deadlines that effective either both of us or either of us, but we want the other person aware of the event. This is the place where we also put the various vacations that may impact us, either clients on vacations or family members, and of course our own vacations. This is the spot that we check when we are trying to schedule work meetings and even a lot of our social events because it lets us know what could impact the event.

Besides having our joint calendar, I have a planner that I use to document the things that I would like to get done daily. It is also the place where I put the appointments, deadlines, and meetings as well so that I can see at the beginning of the day when is ahead of us. Yes, it means that a lot of the things are documented twice, but at least I can see them quickly and my planner is beside me on my desk throughout the day.

My planner is also where I document what I have accomplished each day so that at the end of the day I can see what I got done versus what was planned to get done. There are days when I can get lots of things done that weren’t even on the to-do for the day, and then other days maybe only one thing that was on the list can get achieved before it was a larger project than I originally thought. Being able to manage things in a couple of ways make it so much easier because it at least lets us see what is going on.

I use my planner for a lot of the little things that I need to do and things that I would like to do each day but not they have to do that given day. Normally in the planner I am writing when bills need to be paid, different notes that we want to have available but don’t need to be on our calendar that may interfere with planning of other things.

Yes, having multiple planners and calendars can be a challenge, but you need to make sure that you have a method of getting things done. One calendar may work for a lot of people, but we have found that having a shared calendar for a lot of the stuff and then me having a separate planner for other things works great. See what works for you, and then you may end up changing things around, but at least give the idea a chance and see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Where did the time go?

For a lot of us, we can look back and think where did the time go? There are so many things that I have planned on doing, and then I realize that I haven’t been able to do that because the time has just flown by, and I didn’t get this thing done.

As a child we were always told to enjoy life because once you get older time is just going to fly by. Of course, back then we would laugh at that and think what do they mean, we still have the same amount of time in a day, so it can’t go any faster. What we didn’t realize is that as a child, we don’t have as many demands on our time.

Being able to juggle all the various demands on our time, as well as find some time when we can sit and relax and do things for ourselves, can be a challenge. For those with kids, there are even more demands than for a couple without kids. There are times that the two of us sit back and wonder how the time has flown by, and it doesn’t really seem to be that long ago when an event happened.

Recently we were sitting back and thinking about a trip that we took, and we realized it was almost 16 years ago. It sure didn’t feel like it was that long ago when we went out to Calgary, but it was. Yes, when we really sit back and think about everything else that has happened since then it does make sense, but yes time does fly.

What we need to do sometimes is to ensure that we are taking some time for ourselves and not letting all the other demands on us control us. It can be as simple as taking a few hours away from the demands of work and everything else and trying as much as possible to even ignore the mobile device that we all carry. Maybe, if we can spend that bit of time enjoying what we are doing, we will be able to think even for that little while that there are more hours in a day even if there isn’t.

So yes, time does seem to fly when you get older but sometimes, we just have to that child again and enjoy some time when we don’t let the other demands on our time get in the way.