Thursday, April 26, 2007

3 Ways To Do More With Less Time

We live in a world where more is expected of us every day.

First there were fax machines, now email and cell phones.Our number of communications daily rom various sources is extreme.

How can we get to all of it in a timely fashion and still get 8 hours of sleep?

Here are three time reducing strategies that are easy to implement:

1. Schedule. Like it or not in today's world if you want to achieve greater levels of success you must learn to use a schedule. You can use a Palm Pilot, a journal or a Daytimer. I use the Franklin-Covey Planning software for windows. It pops up when I turn on my computer and it is
compatible with my Palm Pilot so that I can sync at night when I leave my office.

Now, having a schedule isn't half as important as using a schedule. It doesn't work if you don't use it… everyday.

I keep track of appointments, make a To Do list and then as I work on projects I enter them in so that I can make a journal of my day. Later, this will help me remember how much time I spent on tasks for billing purposes. I schedule in exercise time and I schedule in personal development time for reading and writing.

Once you get started, you'll find it easier and easier to use. The amount of time saved by spending the time to keep your schedule can be enormous. It helps to eliminate the clutter we create on our desks and in our minds when trying to remember all the things we need to do.

It can also help to eliminate unnecessary tasks. Many times we say 'yes' when something is not really in alignment with our goals. The act of making time for it and getting on the
schedule will cause you to evaluate its importance. This can be a tremendous time saver.

2. Systems. Systems are a key component in time management. I have a system for everything! Systems do not have to be complicated but they help to keep you on track and save
time. For instance, I use a 'system' for my after-work time. When I leave the office my evening everyday is pre-planned. I drive home, I change, I make dinner, I watch one hour of TV,
I work two hours, and I go to bed… A system.

I follow the same system every single day. It removes wasted time trying to decide what I'm going to do with my time. Setting up systems for checking email or taking calls can be a real time saver. If you have tasks that you do regularly, think about ways to systemize them. Sometimes
setting up forms or check lists, creating schedules or flow charts, delegating, just about anything can be turned into a time saving system.

3. Lists. Keep lists. You can keep the lists in your schedule but you need to get into the habit of making a list for tasks and systems. Checklists save time because you don't have to think about what comes next. The amount of time I save by using a calculator instead of figuring in my
head is enormous…. Using lists is very much the same. By removing the "think" time you streamline processes and save brain energy for more important things. I have a grocery list prepared in Excel, I print it off before I head to the store and buy only what I need. No time wasted wandering the aisles.

I have a checklist for updating my weblog and writing my newsletter. I have templates for the newsletter and I have time scheduled to do both.

Many times a little time spent upfront can be a huge savings later. When I find myself doing a task that I've done before and feel like its taking too long, I sit down systemize and make a checklist and suddenly I've found 15 or 20 minutes.

© Yolanda A. Facio for All Rights Reserved Tired of watching others succeed? Discover how to achieve a more prosperous life. Yolanda A. Facio is the author of an incredible new ebook that guarantees you a more successful and productive life. Click Here Now => More success tips can be found at

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Top 20 ways to lose those stubborn 10 pounds

Like me, you've probably been meaning to lose some weight and may have included that goal once again in your New Year's resolutions. The statistics, however, aren't in our favor: Seventy-seven percent of Black women age 20 and older are overweight or obese, and half of us in this age group are obese. But that's no reason to give up--or give in. This time can be different. You can become more fit and weigh less. To find out what really works, we tapped two health and fitness experts for proven advice on what to eat, drink and affirm, as well as how to stay motivated for the long haul.

Ellie Krieger, a registered dietitian, lifestyle counselor and author of Small Changes, Big Results (Clarkson Potter), recommends these easy-to-adopt habits:

1. EAT BREAKFAST. Studies show that people who eat in the morning are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off.

2. EVERY MONDAY TAKE FIVE PIECES OF FRUIT TO WORK and keep them in a bowl by your desk. You'll have a healthy snack at your fingertips each day, and it looks nice, too.

3. GO FOR A SKIM LATTE instead of a regular. You can save about 100 calories.

4. INCLUDE TWO TO THREE SERVINGS OF LOW-FAT DAIRY or other calcium-rich food every day. They're good for your bones, and studies show that getting enough calcium may help you burn fat.

5. SAY GRACE. Offering thanks for the delicious food and abundance you enjoy calms you and focuses your mind on the meal. Eat slowly and savor each bite.

6. YOU DON'T HAVE TO AVOID CARBS; SWITCH to whole-grain versions. Enjoy whole wheat bread, pasta and couscous. Also select brown rice, oats and bulgur. They offer nutrients and fiber to help us feel full and satisfied. (See pasta recipe at left.)

7. IF YOU HAVE A TASTE FOR PORK, broil or grill some pork tenderloin. It's as lean as skinless chicken breast.

8. TRADE IN ONE SUGARY DRINK, like soda or sweetened tea, for a calorie-free beverage like water everyday, and lose more than a pound a month!

9. STOP EATING WHEN YOU LEAVE THE TABLE. Avoid the urge to nibble on leftovers as you clear the table and clean up.

10. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Fatigue may cause hormonal and metabolic changes that make you more likely to gain weight.

11. WRITE DOWN YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS GOALS to help you stay on track. Ask yourself: Why do I want to lose weight? How much do I want to lose? Focus on your higher motivation for losing weight--becoming healthier, feeling better--because that tends to lead to long-term success.

12. INSTEAD OF DRINKING JUICES, eat the foods they come from. For example, six ounces of apple juice provides 90 calories and only 0.2 grams of fiber, while a medium-size apple contains only 81 calories but offers 3.7 grams of fiber, which gives you a feeling of fullness. This way you won't get hungry five minutes later and head for the fridge.

13. EAT FISH TWO OR MORE TIMES A WEEK. Seafood provides lots of nutrition without many calories. Bake, broil or grill instead of deep-frying. (See recipe for Dr. Ro's Citrus Barbecued Salmon at right.)

14. COOK GREENS WITH FAT-FREE BROTH, herbs, onions, garlic and red pepper. If you add one ounce of salt pork, the fat will soar from nearly zero to a whopping 23 grams.

15. COOK CABBAGE WITH LOW-FAT SMOKED TURKEY instead of fatty meat. Season with caraway seeds and green bell pepper.

16. SWITCH FROM CANDIED SWEET POTATOES to a baked sweet potato and save more than 200 calories.

17. PREPARE BAKED MAC AND CHEESE WITH LOW-FAT CHEESE. egg whites and bread crumbs. These substitutions keep the flavor and cut the fat.

18. HAVE MINIMEALS (250 to 500 calories] instead of large ones (1,000 calories). Aim for three small meals and two snacks. Carry minimeals with you. Whole grain crackers, baby carrots, small boxes of raisins, cans of vegetable juice stash easily in your briefcase, desk drawer or car.

19. TAKE A HIKE! Walking not only reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and breast cancer, but it can also flatten your tummy, tighten your thighs, lessen depression, and make you feel good about yourself. Start slowly, and over days and weeks increase your pace and distance.

20. KNOW THAT YOU WILL SUCCEED. If you backslide, just make yourself start again, because every day is a new day.


Makes 2 servings. Total time: 5 minutes.
1 cup no-sugar-added granola
1 cup of your favorite low-fat yogurt
banana, peeled, sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup orange juice

In a bowl or parfait glass, alternate granola,
yogurt and banana slices. Drizzle
with honey and orange juice.

Per serving: 418 calories, 5 grams fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 217 milligrams sodium, 87 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams protein.


Makes 4 servings. Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound),
coarse stems discarded, well rinsed
3/4 pound whole wheat penne or shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound low-fat Kielbasa or other
precooked smoked sausage, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to boil. Blanche
broccoli rabe about 4 minutes. Use slotted
spoon to remove and place in a bowl. In
same boiling water, cook pasta according
to package directions. In large skillet, heat
1 tablespoon oil. Cook sausage, about 6
minutes. Remove sausage from skillet; set
aside. Add remaining oil to skillet; saute
garlic, about 2 minutes. Chop broccoli rabe
coarsely; add to skillet. Stir in sausage,
tomatoes, broth and seasonings. Simmer
for several minutes. Drain pasta; stir in
broccoli-rabe mixture. Place in large bowl.
Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Per serving: 523 calories, 12 grams fat, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 871 milligrams sodium, 80 grams carbohydrate, 29 grams protein.


Makes 4 servings. Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cook time. 10 minutes.

2 tablespoons frozen orange-juice
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 pound salmon fillet, cut into 4 servings
2 tablespoons each: fresh thyme and
rosemary, combined
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

In small bowl, mix orange-juice concentrate
and barbecue sauce; set aside. Rub
both sides of fish with herbs, salt and
pepper. Spray large nonstick skillet; heat
pan over medium-high heat. Add fish to
skillet; cook until underside is browned,
about 3 minutes. Turn fish; brown other
side, about 3 minutes. Brush tops of fish
with citrus-barbecue sauce; heat
through, about 3 minutes. Delicious with
steamed green beans.

Per sewing: 240 calories, 13 grams fat,
67 milligrams cholesterol, 236 milligrams
sodium, 7 grams carbohydrate,
23 grams protein.

Monday, April 23, 2007

5 Tips To Supercharge Your Motivation

Motivation is the driving force behind life-enhancing change. It comes from knowing exactly what you want to do and having an insatiable, burning desire to do what’s necessary to get it. It keeps your dream on track as it is the power of motivation that keeps you going when the going gets tough.
Here’s 5 top tips to help you supercharge your motivation:

1. Create a picture board and fill it with images of your desired goals. The car you want to own, the house you want to live in, the area where you want to live yes, they’re the obvious ones. Others could be pictures of holiday destinations, trophies, first-class travel tickets, clothes you want to buy, fine restaurants you want to frequent – whatever you can think of that gets your pulse racing.

2. GET ANGRY. If you want to change your life for the better then get angry about where you’re at now. Having a blasé attitude towards change isn’t what’s needed and it won’t create a strong desire within you. So ask: “Why do I want to change?” Is it because you’re FED UP with debts? Does your job DRIVE YOU CRAZY? Is your life DULL AND PRECITABLE? Are you SICK AND TIRED of doing the same thing week in week out? Are you BORED BEYOND BELIEF by the dull, uninspiring, unhappy people you associate with? THEN GET ANGRY ABOUT IT. And I mean REAL ANGRY. Write it all down, all of the frustrating, unrewarding, miserable lot of it that makes every day a dull slog until your final days. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?

3. Speaking of your final days, start to appreciate the value of time. Time is one of the most precious resources you have and it is also a NON RENEWABLE resource. You can either use it fully or squander it. If you want to create change you’re going to have to invest a lot of time to make it happen. Start to reduce the time you waste on irrelevancies: Television, newspapers, lie-ins, weekends spent shopping, partying, dining out, visiting an endless line of relatives and friends – these won’t help you get what you want and all of them will rob time from you. Valuable time that you can use much more effectively by investing it in YOU. Remember this: You have a finite amount of time here on Earth. You don’t know how much time you have – no one does. But it’s how you use the time you have that counts. So make your time count and that means starting from right NOW.

4. Conformity. Are you a mindless little sheep who’s way too timid to pursue your own way? Do you have to follow where everyone else goes, doing exactly what everyone else does and therefore, who gets the same levels of happiness as all the other little sheep? Seriously, does this describe YOU? Are you too frightened to be different than all of the other sheep because they wouldn’t like it if you decided to follow a different path? So you dutifully trot along following all the other sheep because if they’re doing it then that’s how it is right? But if you do what everyone else does you’ll just get what everyone else gets. Do you want to be a mindless, timid little sheep who blindly follows all the other sheep? Or do you want to be a leader, a warrior who possesses the courage to be uniquely you and to do what you want to do and make your dreams happen? If so then this means you have to be more like a tiger than a sheep. Do you really want to be a sheep? I mean, haven’t we got enough sheep already?

5. Fear your fear. Fear is the force that is determined to stop you in your tracks and rob your dreams from you. But it can only do this if you let it. Are you going to let this cruel destructive charlatan trample on your dreams, steal your happiness and crush your spirit? Imagine this thought haunting your final days: “I didn’t do the things I wanted because I was too frightened to live”. And by then, it’ll be far too late to conquer fear. Refuse to let fear spoil your life and start taking action – now!

The world is waiting for your unique gifts. Why keep it waiting any longer?

Article Directory:

Chris Green is the author of the new book “Conquering Fear”, a special program which will show you how to conquer fear and attract greater happiness, success and prosperity into your life. For more info, click here =>

Top 5 Tips To Reduce Your Life Insurance Premium

Life insurance is essential without a doubt but it can be very expensive and as such can be tempting to avoid taking out. However should the worse happen then you could leave your loved ones in a whole lot of trouble financially. Using a little common sense and initiative you can however save your self some money and so make life insurance more affordable. Here are top 5 tips to help you get the cheapest and best deal available.

1. The number one tip when shopping for life insurance is to shop around. By shopping around - especially if you take advantage of the internet - and making comparisons of policies, you will quickly and easily get yourself the best deal possible. Factors to take into consideration when comparing policies includes understanding the details of the policy. These include the amount of premium you will be paying every month; the benefits you get from the policy; and, how much the surrender value of the policy is should you cash it in early. These charges will usually vary from company to company and can vary greatly with some in what you get for your payout.

2. Many companies will allow you to make savings if you choose to pay for your policy on an annual basis or by direct debit straight from your bank account. It is worth checking on this because you could be able to make a saving rather than paying on a weekly or monthly basis.

3. Where possible, instead of taking out several different smaller policies for life insurance take out just one larger one. A large policy is always the best value for money and will sell for less per amount of coverage.

4. If you have held a policy for a number of years then it might be outdated and you could be paying more than you should be for the amount you are covered for. In fact you could be paying around 2 to 3 times more than could you be if you shopped around online and compared newer policies for a better deal.

5. If you quit smoking and drinking, start exercising and lose weight if you need to, you could find that your premiums are a lot lower than those who smoke and drink etc.

Launched in March 2003, BestDealInsurance are a completely independent specialist broker.

They offer the full range of life insurance to mortgage protection cover, ensuring that their clients have the protection they need, without leaving a hole in their pocket.

Article Source:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Top 7 Ways To Get Rich

Want to be one of the lucky ones on the road to riches, want to be on the freeway to financial freedom, on your way to wealth? Here are the top 7 roads to riches, the top 7 easiest and fastest ways to acquire wealth ...

Inherit it

This is how today's old money families got their wealth. In the 1800's and early 1900's, before anti-trust laws, income taxes and political correctness, America's finest families built empires and amassed great wealth; in industries such as oil, banking, newspapers, sugar, transportation, land, bootlegging and even prostitution. And that original wealth was passed down to succeeding generations. The number one easiest and fastest way to acquire wealth is to inherit it. Unfortunately, inheriting wealth is mainly a matter of blood; you have to be born into the right family.

Marry it

If you can't inherit it the second easiest and fastest way to acquire wealth is to marry someone who is already wealthy. And sometimes that person may even be kind, generous, compatible and loveable. And, if not, divorce can pay off handsomely. Just remember to get married (and divorced) in a state that has favorable community property laws.

Work for it

If you can't inherit wealth and can't marry it then you can work for it. People rarely get rich having a job. Rather, they build a company and own it. And then often take that company public, collecting hundreds of millions, or billions, of dollars in doing so.
Or, they invent something useful and valuable which greatly benefits society, such as explosive devices like dynamite, or the paper clip or the thigh master or eBay.

Win it

If you can't inherit wealth, can't marry it or can't work for it then maybe you can win it. Lotteries abound, paying out multi-million dollar jackpots, and eventually someone always wins them. Unfortunately, you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning then winning the lottery. But, hey, it only costs a buck!

Steal it or deal it

If you can't inherit wealth and you can't marry it, work for it, or win it then maybe you could steal it or deal it.

You could become a CEO or chief financial officer for a big cash-rich company, cook the books, steal millions of dollars, buy a $20 million dollar home, lie to the feds, and hope you don't get caught, convicted and sent to Club Fed. I don't recommend anyone try to get rich this way.

Also not recommended is to deal it; to become a drug lord and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in cash dealing heroin, crack, meth and other non-FDA approved goodies and wholesaling it to pushers who will gladly resell it to anyone to wants it, ranging from children to movie stars. After all, aren't drug dealers just supplying what people want; even if it creates crime, ruins lives, kills people or could put you in jail for the rest of your life. Not a legal (or moral) way to get rich.

Gamble for it

If you can't inherit money, can't marry it, can't work for it, can't win it, can't steal or deal it then maybe you could gamble for it. Over 50 million people play poker. A few even make millions of dollars at it. You've seen them on television, winning or losing upwards of a million dollars on the turn of a card. Looks easy, doesn't it? They don't look so tough on TV; I bet any decent poker player (like me for instance) has a good chance of beating them on a lucky day. So maybe you could simply plunk down $3,000-$25,000 per tournament entry fee, or get a backer, join the World Poker Tour, win a few tournaments and get rich! Or maybe, in reality, the average amateur poker player has a snowball's chance in hell of getting rich that way.

Invest and get rich

If you can't inherit wealth, can't marry it, can't work for it, can't win it, can't steal or deal it or can't gamble for it then maybe you can invest and get rich. There are 2 good ways to invest and get rich; the real estate market and the stock market.

According to historical data, over time, real etate goes up a average of 10% a year. So getting rich in real estate tends to take a long time. And also requires a large down payment. Hard to get rich quick that way.

On the other hand, the stock market can be a good way to get rich. Stocks can go up dramatically over a relatively short period of time and make you rich but you have to have the money to invest and you have to pick the right stocks at the right time.

To recap how to get rich:

1. inherit it
2. marry it
3. work for it
4. win it
5. steal it or deal it
6. gamble for it
7. invest for it

These are the top 7 easiest and quickest ways people can get rich. How will YOU do it?

Alan Korber is the creator and publisher of the successful Korber Strategy, a simple easy-to-understand stock market investment strategy that can pinpoint stocks likely to go up 50%-100% in the next 12 months. His website is

7 Ways To Motivate Yourself When Studying A Foreign Language.

Motivation is a tricky thing, isn't is? If you are one of the brave souls trying to learn a foreign language by yourself you'll be sure to run out of motivation some time. This is a collection of my best tricks to help you complete what your started.

Track you progress.

Make a chart or find a calendar. Mark you chart every time you finish a session or have studied for a set amount of time. Place your chart in a place you can't avoid. Make a commitment to look at your chart every day. This seems simple, but it's incredible how much it helps your motivation.

Don't overdo it.

Learning a new language isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. If you start out full of fresh energy it is important not to burn it all at once. Limit you study time to one lesson or one hour a day. After you have reached your daily goal - Stop. That way you conserve motivation and energy for the nest day. Portion you energy to last. This allows you look forward to your next lesson and finish the race strong.

Get support.

Online or off-line there are groups who share your goal. Join an online forum or find some similarly minded people in your community. You will find that there are other people who are going through what you are going through. Some will even have been through it. Your support group will keep you going when you want to stop. Not to mention all the good advice, moral support and fun you will have.

Visualize you reason.

Get real clear on why you are learning a new language. Make at picture in your head of what will be different in your life when you reach your goat. What will it get you in the end. Great travel experiences, a promotion, new friend or something else? Find a picture in a magazine or online to represent your goal. Make sure that you look at it every day. Post it on your bathroom mirror, place it on your desk or hang it by your bed. Make sure you look at it every day.

Get a goal buddy.

Keeping you motivation high on your own is though. If you find somebody with the same goal grab the opportunity to ask if they want to partner with you. This can work even if you don't share goals. Just encourage and push each other to succeed. Having someone to answer to and who answers to you adds a whole other layer to your motivation.

The one minute trick.

You know those days when you can't find a glimmer of motivation. Do a one minute effort. That's right. You can find the energy for just one minute, can't you. Just get started with the intention of working for 60 seconds. Once you start, it you will keep going. This works like magic.

Set mini goals.

There is a trick to doing this right. Think back to a time when you quit something before you reached your goal. How long did you work on it before you quit? Your mini goal is to keep going half as long. When you get there give yourself a reward. Go watch a movie, eat a nice meal and pat yourself on the back. Then decide on your next mini goal. This will ensure that you never reach your quitting point.

Plan your rewards.

Split your large goals into smaller goals. If your language program is 30 lessons long you can plan a reward after every 5th lesson you finish. Write out a plan and decide what the reward will be after every smaller goal is reached. Rewards can be anything you like, big or small. Make your reward a small celebration!

Get a coach.

Learning a language by your self can be a lonely adventure. Even if it's just once a month a session with a language trainer or tutor will boost your motivation big time. This is will also show you that your skills are growing and that your progress is real. Check your local newspaper or college for adds. Nothing is better than finding a native speaker of your language who is willing to coach you.

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Kris Lunde is a personal performance expert. His passion is to help others learn to speak a new language. For language home study he recommends Pimsleur

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

15 Ways to Leave Your Job

Diplomacy is defined as "tact and skill in dealing with people." While it's always a good idea to be diplomatic in all your personal and business dealings, it's especially important when you are resigning from a job. The world is much smaller than we sometimes think, and with all the company mergers, consolidations and acquisitions, it's best not to burn bridges.

When you're leaving a job, it's not the time to finally give an irritating co-worker a piece of your mind. The co-worker or supervisor you've despised could wind up as your boss somewhere down the career road.

Here are a few tips to take into consideration before you announce your resignation.

1. Always use professionalism and courtesy in announcing your intention to leave the company.

2. Advise your direct supervisor first. Then tell colleagues and department staff.

3. Don't boast to co-workers about your new position, salary, office or company car. Instead, thank them for their support and friendships and exchange contact information to stay in touch.

4. Write a professional letter of resignation. No need for lengthy explanations, you can simply state that you are resigning from your position to pursue other interests or opportunities. Whether you loved or hated your job or your supervisor, the outcome should be the same: a brief, respectful letter stating your intention to leave.

5. Give your employer advance notice so that they can begin to make arrangements for your replacement. Generally acceptable notice is two to four weeks. Work with your current and future employers to set a time frame that works for both them and you.

6. Offer suggestions for your replacement by putting your supervisor in touch with colleagues you know and respect. Share resumes of qualified candidates or recommend a valued co-worker for your position.

7. Finish the job. Don't leave projects half completed. Provide a list of projects and review what can or needs to be completed before you depart.

8. Don't leave your desk or office in disarray. Take a day to organize your materials for your successor.

9. Offer to train your replacement. This may require that you come back for a few hours or a day once you leave the company. If you leave before a replacement is hired, make yourself available to answer questions in person or over the phone.

10. Don't disappear. Avoid short-timer's attitude and stay an active and contributing member of your team during your last days at work. Work hard and do your best to leave a good and lasting impression.

11. Avoid naysayers and don't badmouth the company. Once others know you are leaving, they may seek you out to share their feelings of discontent. If you want to leave on good terms, don't be associated with disgruntled or unhappy employees.

12. Use your exit interview time wisely. Regardless of what you are told, this is not the time to trash your boss or your boss's boss. If you haven't discussed your concerns about work situations in the past, don't use the exit interview as an opportunity to reveal them for the first time.

13. Negotiate your exit package wisely, but don't be greedy or overly demanding. Politely ask for what you deserve, such as payout of unused vacation time, pro-rated bonuses, etc.

14. Leave the company assets behind. Don't walk off with supplies to outfit your new office. Unless you brought something from home or paid for that stapler with your own money, leave it on your desk.

15. Don't send boastful or sobbing farewell e-mails. If you choose to use e-mail to notify colleagues that you are leaving, provide your contact information -- these people are part of your network.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

15 Ways to Teach Kids About Money

Introducing Kids to Money Money gives people -- both young and old -- decision-making opportunities. Educating, motivating, and empowering children to become regular savers and investors will enable them to keep more of the money they earn and do more with the money they spend. Everyday spending decisions can have a far more negative impact on children's financial futures than any investment decisions they may ever make. Here are 15 simple ways to help educate children about personal finance and managing money:

1.As soon as children can count, introduce them to money. Take an active role in providing them with information. Observation and repetition are two important ways children learn.

2.Communicate with children as they grow about your values concerning money --- how to save it, how to make it grow, and most importantly, how to spend it wisely.

3.Help children learn the differences between needs, wants, and wishes. This will prepare them for making good spending decisions in the future.

4.Setting goals is fundamental to learning the value of money and saving. Young or old, people rarely reach goals they haven't set. Nearly every toy or other item children ask their parents to buy them can become the object of a goal-setting session. Such goal-setting helps children learn to become responsible for themselves.

5.Introduce children to the value of saving versus spending. Explain and demonstrate the concept of earning interest income on savings. Consider paying interest on money children save at home; children can help calculate the interest and see how fast money accumulates through the power of compound interest. Later on, they also will realize that the quickest way to a good credit rating is a history of regular, successful savings. Some parents even offer to match what children save on their own.

Allowance and Spending Decisions

6. When giving children an allowance, give them the money in denominations that encourage saving. If the amount is $5, give them 5-1-dollar bills and encourage that at least one dollar be set aside in savings. (Saving $5 a week at 6 percent interest compounded quarterly will total about $266 after a year, $1,503 after 5 years, and $3,527 after 10 years!)

7. Take children to a credit union or bank to open their own savings accounts. Beginning the regular savings habit early is one of the keys to savings success. Remember, don't refuse them when they want to withdraw a portion of their savings for a purchase--This may discourage them from saving at all. You can also introduce children to U.S. savings bonds. Bonds are still a good value, costing one-half their face value and earning interest that in some instances will be tax-free if used for a college education. Perhaps more importantly, when given as a gift, bonds will not be spent immediately, reinforcing saving and goal-setting lessons.

8. Keeping good records of money saved, invested, or spent is another important skill young people must learn. To make it easy, use 12 envelopes, 1 for each month, with a larger envelope to hold all the envelopes for the year. Establish this system for each child. Encourage children to place receipts from all purchases in the envelopes and keep notes on what they do with their money.

9. Use regular shopping trips as opportunities to teach children the value of money. Going to the grocery store is often a child's first spending experience. About a third of our take-home pay is spent on grocery and household items. Spending smarter at the grocery store (using coupons, shopping sales, comparing unit prices) can save more than $1,800 a year for a family of four. To help young people understand this lesson, demonstrate how to plan economical meals, avoid waste, and use leftovers efficiently. When you take children to other kinds of stores, explain how to plan purchases in advance and make unit-price comparisons. Show them how to check for value, quality, repairability, warranty, and other consumer concerns. Spending money can be fun and very productive when spending is well-planned. Unplanned spending, as a rule, usually results in 20-30 percent of our money being wasted because we obtain poor value with our purchases.

10. Allow young people to make spending decisions. Whether good or poor, they will learn from their spending choices. You can then initiate an open discussion of spending pros and cons before more spending takes place. Encourage them to use common sense when buying. This means doing research before making major purchases, waiting for the right time to buy, and using the "spending-by-choice" technique. This technique involves selecting at least three other things the money could be spent on setting aside money for one of the items, and then making a choice of which item to purchase.

Buying Smart

11. Show children how to evaluate TV, radio, and print ads for products. Will a product really perform and do what the commercials say? Is a price offered truly a sale price? Are alternative products available that will do a better job, perhaps for less cost, or offer better value? Remind them that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

12. Alert children to the dangers of borrowing and paying interest. If you charge interest on small loans you make to them, they will learn quickly how expensive it is to rent someone else's money for a specified period of time. For instance, paying for a $499 TV over 18 months at $31.85 a month at 18.8 percent interest means the buyer really pays about $575.

13. When using a credit card at a restaurant, take the opportunity to teach children about how credit cards work. Explain to children how to verify the charges, how to calculate the tip, and how to guard against credit card fraud.

14. Be cautious about making credit cards available to young people, even when they are entering college. Credit cards have a message: "spend!" Some students report using the cards for cash advances and also to meet everyday needs, instead of for emergencies (as originally planned). Many of those same students find themselves having to cut back on classes to fit in part-time jobs just to pay for their credit card purchases.

15. Establish a regular schedule for family discussions about finances. This is especially helpful to younger children--it can be the time when they tote up their savings and receive interest. Other discussion topics should include the difference between cash, checks, and credit cards; wise spending habits; how to avoid the use of credit; and the advantages of saving and investment growth. With teenagers, it's also useful to discuss what's happening with the national and local economies, how to economize at home, and alternatives to spending money. All of this information will be important as they take on more responsibility for their own financial well-being.

Monday, April 2, 2007

7 Practical Ways to Earn More by Working Less

Here is a great article on how to work more productively, courtesy of Terry Dean of My Marketing Coach.

The motto of my coaching business is Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life! This is something every business owner wants, but they often feel it's too difficult to achieve.

Too many of us have been programmed by the employee mindset of working hours for dollars. Employees get paid by the number of hours they put in. Entrepreneurs get paid based on the value they create for others...whether they're actively working or not.

Here are 7 practical steps to begin on the road to earning more by working less.

#1 - Hire a Personal Assistant

Quit trying to be a one man (or woman) show. Even if you're currently a small business of just one person (such as a home business, life coach, or real estate agent), you can't do it all yourself.

Hire someone to help you with the routine tasks of answering emails and phone calls. Have them do secretarial work. Figure out what parts of your current work can easily be handled by someone else. Either hand it to a staff member or outsource it.

#2 - Eliminate the Time Vampires

Quit wasting your time. That short call you had to answer became a 30-minute delay. The email you once answered for a non-client has produced 10 additional emails and help requests from the same person ... who still hasn't purchased. That individual who stopped by your office for a quick word with you is still here after one hour.

Try putting an egg timer on your desk and remind yourself every call or contact needs to get to the point within the next 3 minutes.

#3 - Quit Working On Your Weaknesses

We're told to acknowledge and work on our weaknesses to be a well rounded person. Forget about it! Acknowledge your weaknesses, but quit trying to work on them. Build a team and hand off responsibilities where you're weak.

Concentrate on your strengths and giftings. You do what you do best. Hire out the rest. If you're horrible at writing, hire a copywriter. If you don't like administrative paperwork, hand it off to someone else who's qualified.

#4 - Raise Your Prices

I've helped many businesses develop their unique client focus. In a few cases, they were one of the lowest cost options. Yet this is NOT the unique client focus I prefer to have. It's the most difficult one to build a business on.

I'd much rather see you use one of the other 17 ways to develop your uniqueness in the marketplace. You'll often find that by raising your prices and focusing on a more upscale market segment, you'll eliminate many of the time consuming problems of your business.

#5 - Work One Less Day a Week

If you want to make more money, work one less day a week. It sounds crazy, but it has been proven time and time again. If you're currently working 6 days a week, drop to 5. If you're working 5 days, drop to 4. By removing one day from your schedule, you'll be forced to focus more on the days you're working. You cut the garbage out and get down to business. You'll quickly find that a lot of the things you used to think were essential weren't needed at all.

#6 - Take Time to Plan

Plan the schedule for your next day in the last 5 minutes of the day. Plan your schedule for next week on the last ten minutes of your last day of the week. Take out one day every quarter to plan the next 90 days for your business. This is only a small investment each day, but it pays huge dividends for what you accomplish. Of course you can purchase a time management course, but this is the simple basis of planning your time.

Decide on the essentials that must be done in the coming period. And always plan time to work on your business instead of just in your business.

#7 - Hire a Coach

It's so easy to keep following the status quo. I'm sure you've heard that one definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. If you want to earn more while working less, you have to make some changes.

And the absolute best way to make these changes is bring in someone from the outside. They have a different viewpoint and experiences in helping other entrepreneurs just like you. A good business coach knows how to ask the right questions to help you discover exactly how to transform your business into a profitable business instead of just a low paying job.

Terry Dean is the president of MyMarketingCoach. Discover the 10 Key Strategies Any Business Owner Can Use to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life in a special free report by going to My Marketing Coach.

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