Thinking About the Unthinkable

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, This'n'That

I had to think the unthinkable last week.  What would happen if I had an accident that prevented me from working ever again?  I know, not a very nice thought, in fact it’s rather morbid, but as a business owner that solely depends on my ability to work to pay the bills….well it’s a something I had to face and plan for.

It’s not as if I have never thought about the subject, but as quickly as I’ve opened that door, I close it. Not a smart way to handle it, but it has never been a topic I’ve been truly comfortable with.  I’ve never been one to dwell on the “unthinkable.”  I’d say I’m your typical “take each day as it comes” kinda gal. And I’ve always been fine with that.

Yet, this shifted during a meeting with my insurance agent and I had no choice but to answer the question “What do you have planned if an unforeseen accident prevented you from working?”

Well, geezz… I don’t know (can we change the subject?).  The wheel in my mind began spinning and all those scenarios began playing in my mind and honestly —I didn’t have an answer.   I had no clue what would happen to my business, my home, my life, if I could no longer work.   I hadn’t prepared for that.  I mean, I have life insurance, so my family will have no worries when I drop dead…but be alive and not able to work…is that even possible for me…I’m sure that will never happen!

In a very tactful manner, my insurance agent assured me, that yes, although I may believe that I’m exempt from this possibility …Not so, this could very well happen to me as it happens to thousands of small business owners every year.   Every year business owners are faced with unexpected life altering moments.   Not only being faced with the impact an accident will have on them physically and the time and focus it will take them to get better, but how that accident will impact their business, their livelihood.

Talk about a slap to the face!   I was not at all prepared to hear that!

A huge reality check for me and a question I now have to have an answer to.  So I’m taking the steps now to put in place a plan.  A plan that will take care of my business, my home, my family if the unthinkable happens.  Between critical illness insurance and disability insurance

I have a lot to think about but the good thing is….I’m actually thinking about it.   Not simply closing the door.

The fact is as service providers, we depend on ourselves to get the work done.  Our livelihood depends on us being fit to do the job.

So, as uncomfortable the thought is — if the unthinkable happens –do you have a plan?

Written by:
Michelle Jamison
www.mjva.ca

Childproof that Office

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, This'n'That

As a mother of a 2 year old, I found out the hard away about what it means to have a “childproof office”.  At two, my daughter is at the height of curiosity; her little hands can find their way into the smallest of areas. To her, a computer keyboard resembles a piano, any piece of paper lying on the desk is fair game and needs a little red crayon,  even the garbage basket can become a little too tempting for my little munchkin to explore.

It was becoming a growing concern, I came to realize very quickly (when I walked into my office to find her under my desk with my computer power cord wrapped around her arm shouting “pull, pull” as she was yanking it from the wall) that it was time to take childproofing a little more seriously.

Now I do have childcare and for the most part my office is off limits, however in some cases having my daughter with me while I work is unavoidable and quite honestly often I enjoy the company.   After all one of the reason why I became a VA was to have more time with my family.

So I began the childproofing process, I read a few articles, did a little research and came up with my plan of action.

  1. Create a distraction. I wanted to ensure she had plenty of things to keep her occupied besides the “shiny” stapler.  I put together a box of toys that are only for the office.  Since she doesn’t play in my office too much, these toys are a new discovery every time she’s there.
  2. Give her, her own keyboard. She loves my computer keyboard and quite honestly what child wouldn’t. Instead of having her type away on mine and then having to figure out how to get rid of all those error messages, I found an old keyboard not in use and allow her to play with that.  She loves it!
  3. Outlet covers. Why are electrical outlets so attractive to a 2 year old? Well they are, at least to my 2 year old. I placed outlet covers on any outlet in my office that did not have something in it.
  4. Get rid of the wire. For the most part my office is a wireless environment. However I can’t get rid of 100% of the wires.  I neatly tied them up with cable ties and made them a little less noticeable.  Out of sight, out of mind!
  5. Lid the Garbage. I found a cheap little garbage with a lid on it. Not the most convenient for me when I have to throw something out, but worth the 2 extra seconds it takes to take the lid off in order to avoid my daughter picking out crumbled paper and chewing on it.
  6. Put the paper away. I have to admit I do not run a totally paperless office (I’m working on it though) so I have managed to become a little more aware of the amount of paper I have in my office and what I’m using.  I now try to file everything that isn’t “nailed” down.
  7. Little items, big problems. It’s amazing to me how even the littlest items can be so interesting to a 2 year old.  Again, I’ve been more conscious of loose staples, elastics, tacks, paper clips and appropriately store them out of little hands reach.  Desk drawers with childproof latches are great for this.  If you lack drawer space, Tupperware containers make great storage for little items.

So as you can see my plan didn’t take too long to implement, the cost was very minimal, and all worth it to spend a little more time in the day with my little girl.  Of course, she was right about one thing, a little splash of red crayon can make a huge difference.

Written by:
Michelle Jamison
www.mjva.ca

Procrastination – Strategies that worked for me!

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, This'n'That

I have to admit, some days I am a procrastinator, not every day, but some days. In the past I was a much bigger procrastinator then what I am today. If I didn’t like to do something I would just keep putting it off until I finally got tired of seeing it on my “to do” list after a few weeks, “bite the bullet” and finally get it done. Once it was done, I would have a huge feeling of accomplishment and wonder why I just didn’t take care of it sooner.

My procrastination was never about client work as those were tasks I always loved to do; it was always about “my stuff”, certain projects I had to do for myself or for my business. For instance, tax time was always a huge source of procrastination for me, getting my paperwork and electronic files together to bring to the accountant were one of those items I always seemed to have left for the last possible moment.

Now as I mentioned, I’ve gotten much better over the years and have learned a few strategies to help me get through those moments when procrastination tries to creep in. Maybe they’ll work for you too!

  1. Break the task down into smaller, manageable pieces. Large projects can be a little overwhelming and can trigger the “procrastination gremlin”. Break your larger project into smaller pieces, and work for shorter periods.
  2. Get the hardest or the easiest over with first. I have always preferred to tackle the most difficult pieces first to get it off my plate, however other’s work much better by taking on the easiest pieces, building momentum then working on the most difficult.  Whatever works best for you is the way to go.
  3. Have someone hold you accountable. Share the details and goals of your project with your Coach, a co-worker or a friend who is willing to hold you accountable for getting the work done.  Have them send you weekly check in emails to discuss your progress.  My Coach has been an amazing source of support during these times.
  4. Reward yourself. This has to be my favourite strategy.   I don’t think we reward ourselves enough for a “good job done”.  For me, a reward is a source of motivation, it does not have to be anything elaborate, it could be just taking a few hours off earlier from work.  If a reward would motivate you, then treat yourself to something that really gets your gears in motion.

The one thing I realized about procrastination is that putting things off till later eventually rolled into the “now”.   So there really isn’t a later.

Written by:
Michelle Jamison
www.mjva.ca