Some Tips on How to Make 2018 a More Productive One
Happy New Year! I came across this article today and thought I should share it as it had some good and "to the point" tips on how to make this a more productive year. It was written by Kirstin O'Donovan and the title of the article is "5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet"
Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.
Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.
Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2018:
- 1. Ditch your to do list
Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar! To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.
If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee
- 2. Give up on motivation
Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.
If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.
- 3. Master your mornings
Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.
We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferris
- 4. Schedule according to energy
Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.
- 5. Working backwards
Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.
Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.
5 Reasons to Keep Your Ductwork Clean
(By Hewn and Hammered)
The air quality in your home is important. Keeping dust, pollen, pet dander, and other irritants out of the air you breathe involves more than changing the air filter. What about the air ducts? Contaminants collect in the duct system too, and regular cleaning of the air channel is important.
As you know, many irritants hang in the air we breathe. Not only that, these minute particles of dirt and bacteria settle into your HVAC system and when you turn the system on, these contaminants blow into your home. These particles enter your lungs, worsening allergies and asthma. If your family suffers from frequent bouts of congestion, sinus infections, colds, or the flu, your air ducts probably need cleaning.
Many allergies sufferers trace their health issues back to the many types of fungi and bacteria in air duct systems. And indoor air pollution causes up to 50 percent of illnesses we catch. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality ranks among the top five environmental risks to your health.
Dirty HVAC systems consume more energy than clean ones. Older ductwork starts leaking and not only do irritants enter through cracks, but air escapes too. Dirty ductwork also impedes airflow that drives up energy bills as much as 20 percent. Plus, dirt stresses your system causing frequent breakdowns. Clean ductwork helps lower your utility bill and helps your HVAC unit last longer.
If someone in your home smokes that cigarette or cigar order hangs not only in the air but in the ductwork. Likewise, if you burned something on the stove, the smoke must go somewhere. These smells and other household odors collect in the ductwork and get circulated five to seven times per day, on average. Odors continue to plague your home long after you remove the offensive item.
Mold and mildew grow in your duct system especially if your home suffered recent water damage from flooding or foundation cracks. Home renovations and repair often lead to contaminants settling in your air system, and newly built homes need the air ducts cleaned before occupancy.
Call the Professional
Air duct cleaning is not an easy job. It needs special vacuum hoses and tools to reach throughout the system. This is not a do-it-yourself task. Contact SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights and schedule a professional cleaning. Have your system cleaned every three to five years and more often if your family suffers from severe allergies or asthma, includes a smoker, or you have pets that shed a lot.
You need to know the air you breathe at home is free from contaminants. What you don't know will hurt you. Make sure you contact a certified HVAC technician for ductwork cleaning. Another helpful idea is to buy a high-quality air filter like the ones sold at home improvement stores. Look for pleated filters costing around $15. Not only do these last a little longer, these filters also catch more debris, including bacteria and viruses, before you breathe it in.
Upcoming Food Drive
SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights is getting ready to host our annual food drive for the Arlington Heights food pantry. Each year we partner with various District 25 schools as well as a few businesses to collect much needed non perishable food items. It gives us great pleasure to do this for the community and a nice satisfaction knowing that we can help others in need even if in a small way. Below is an excerpt from a thank letter we received last year from the food pantry, this pretty much sums up why we feel a need to do this each year!
“Thank you so much for facilitating the food donation to our food pantry from SERVPRO, be assured that the donation will be put to good use. People in need come to our door on a daily basis requesting food from our food pantry when in dire situations. We are only able to help them because of generous organizations like yours…”
Back to School Lunch Tips
4 simple rules for healthy, budget-friendly lunches your kids will love
By Mike Timmermann
Most parents want to provide their kids with the healthiest meals possible, but the challenge can be finding nutritious foods that taste good to them.
4 tips and tricks for healthier lunches
Coming up with new kid-friendly recipes is overwhelming, so we reached out to Ashley Koff RD, a well-respected registered dietitian and creator of “The Better Nutrition, Simplified Plan.”
She says these four tips can lead to better health for the entire family!
1. Better nutrient balance
When’s the last time you actually saw what’s served in the school cafeteria? Sure, it’s not as bad as it used to be. But it’s still not ideal.
By preparing your child’s lunch regularly, you can focus on better nutrition.
“We need nutrient balance just like our car needs gas, oil (engine), air (tires), wiper fluid and so on,” Koff said.
Mistake #1: Not enough protein or healthy fats
Kids love carbs, but too many of them will result in an overwhelming rush of energy that will wear off before their next class period ends.
The challenge can be finding the right proteins and fats to store in a lunch box.
Ashley suggests trying hemp hearts, which provide complete plant protein, essential omega fatty acids, iron for growth and fiber to help you feel full.
Mistake #2: Skipping carbs
If your little one isn’t getting enough carbohydrates at lunch, Ashley says they won’t get the quick energy needed to make it until afternoon snack time.
Often times, carb-deprived adults and children will just end up reaching for the cookie jar later on.
Simply adding chickpeas, beans, a piece of fruit or some sweet potato can give your child’s lunch the nutrient balance to fuel their body for hours.
Mistake #3: No non-starchy veggies
We know that getting your kids to eat vegetables is a tough one, but non-starchy vegetables are so important.
“They are the body’s clean up team and we need to aim to get in a rainbow of colors most days to give our bodies what they need to clean up and stay healthy,” Koff said.
Here are some examples of non-starchy vegetables:
- Baby corn
- Brussels sprouts
- Salad greens
2. Better quality
Ashley says there is no perfect food, but she recommends buying organic whenever you can.
“Our bodies run best when we give them fuel that they recognize, and have the least likelihood to irritate or disrupt optimal functions,” Koff said.
Costco and Aldi both have a great selection of organics!
And if you prefer the farmer’s market, Ashley says you may be able to get a discount if you go right before they close.
3. Better quantity
If you’re trying to introduce your children to different types of foods, sometimes the problem is they eat too little.
“While trying a bite is an awesome way to encourage new tastes, it’s key to back that up with ensuring their bites add up to enough nutrients per nutrition pit stop,” Koff said.
Ashley recommends skipping hyper-processed snacks, including those that say things like “fat-free” and “sugar-free” on the label. Instead, opt for whole or minimally-processed foods.
For example, a small serving of chocolate and peanut butter is an OK afternoon snack, but make sure it doesn’t contain loads of added sugar or hydrogenated oils.
And use your fist and palm as a guide to keep your portions according to your size.
4. Better frequency
Every parent can relate to the nights when they make dinner and their kids say they’re not hungry! So frustrating, right?
The problem is that going too long without nutrition makes our bodies cranky. For a child who tends to skip lunch, Ashley says you can pack a few “pit stops” instead — which are basically nutritious snacks.
And forget about the clock! Don’t be afraid to switch things up in non-traditional ways.
“Why not have dessert smoothies at 5 p.m.? Or can’t overnight oats happen at 4 p.m. as easily as 7 a.m.? Then, at 6 p.m., mini burgers in a bowl of some veggies may go down at lot more successfully,” Koff said.
Stay Healthy this School Year!
Did you know that SERVPRO provides specialty cleaning such as cleaning done for a school facility? Yep, we do as well as other types of specialty cleaning. With all the germs that are present in the school environment and with school starting this week , I thought some tips on how to stay healthy this school year might be helpful.
Back to School: 5 Tips for Staying Healthy
Written by Leigh Matthews
Most parents know that ‘back to school’ often equates to sneezes and sniffles as kids share more than just their summer adventures. For many parents, the on-set of the new school year means hoping they can keep their kids (and themselves!) from getting sick.
Here are 5 tips for helping to keep your kids healthy this school year:
1. Pack Water Bottles
Smaller children don’t always know to keep their mouth off the water fountain when they drink, so be sure to pack them a reusable, BPA-free water bottle every day, and get them into the habit of putting it in the dishwasher or washing it thoroughly every night.
2. Teach Kids Not to Share
That’s right, sharing isn’t always caring – at least when it comes to germs. Teach your kids to avoid sharing personal items, such as water bottles, earbuds, snacks, and other items that could spread germs.
3. Eat Well
A healthy immune system relies on a good intake of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This means getting your kids to eat their helping of fruits and veggies, as well as other foods linked to healthy eating.
4. Sleep Well
If the return to school means your kids are getting up earlier than they’d like, help them realize that it makes sense for them to go to bed a little earlier. Set a good example by having a cut-off point for TV, computers and smartphones at least an hour before bedtime, so natural melatonin synthesis isn’t disrupted by the light emitted from these devices. Without adequate sleep, not only do kids have a hard time concentrating, but they’re also more susceptible to feeling unwell.
Children aged 10-17 need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep a night; children aged 5-10 need 10-11 hours of sleep; and children aged 3-5 need 11-13 hours of sleep.
5. Wash Your Hands!
It seems obvious, but the fact is that most people simply forget or do not wash their hands effectively, meaning that every time they touch something or someone, they risk spreading germs. With smaller kids, use this as a teaching exercise by getting them to repeat the alphabet while they scrub their hands. Older kids should get into the habit of counting to at least 20 before rinsing. Be sure to encourage hand washing after petting an animal, handling or eating food, coughing or sneezing, and for older kids who babysit, changing a diaper.
Some parents have started packing hand sanitizer for their kids and while this is better than nothing, it’s still important to teach kids to wash their hands with warm water and soap after touching things that may carry germs, such as classroom objects.
And, of course, if children do fall ill, keep them away from school. This helps protect other children (and teachers!) from germs, and helps protect the sick child from picking up anything else while they are vulnerable. If a child has a fever it is especially important to keep them away from school as this is when they are most contagious.
Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Vent
5 Reasons You Should Get Your Dryer Vent Cleaned
Cleaning out the lint trap of your dryer is second nature to most. We often do it after each load.
Because it helps our dryer work more efficiently and we know it’s a safety hazard if we don’t.
The same holds true for your dryer vent. This is the tube that runs from your dryer to the outside of your house. It helps remove hot air and moisture. If this vent gets clogged it can lead to many complications.
Here are the top 5 reasons why it’s important to keep your dryer vent clean and free from clogs and lint.
The number 1 reason on our list is safety! Dryers run hot and lint is highly flammable, which makes for a dangerous combination.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, clothes dryers are responsible for more than 15,000 structure fires each year and 80% of those are due to clogged dryer vents. This is a preventable problem.
There is also the possibility of fumes backing up into your home through clogged vents. The gasses and carbon monoxide that should be released outside could potentially back up into your home causing an air quality issue for you and your family.
We all want our appliances to work as efficiently as possible. A clogged dryer vent could mean your clothes will need multiple cycles before drying correctly or will need to run longer. This is because the proper amount of hot air is not reaching your dryer.
Multiple cycles and extended drying times mean additional energy spent and could lead to an increase in your electrical bill.
3. A Clean Dryer Vent Means a Longer Life for Your Dryer
We already pointed out that a clogged vent means a less efficient drying cycle. If your dryer is running longer than normal or more than one cycle per load, your slowly decreasing the life of your dryer. It’s essentially working double-time!
A dryer that is overworked will add considerable wear and tear to your machine. This could lead to malfunctions and needed repairs. Allowing your dryer to run this way can also cause a complete breakdown of your machine over time.
The purpose of the dryer vent is to release moisture and hot air outside. The moisture can sometimes create wet spots inside the tube. Built-up lint can get caught in these wet spots and create mold.
This wet lint can also stick to the inside of the vent’s tube making cleaning more difficult.
5. Less Maintenance
Like any other appliance or machine, your dryer will last longer and work better if it’s properly cared for. Cleaning the vent regularly will help ensure that your clothes are being dried in a timely manner and you aren’t wasting unnecessary energy. Extended drying times can even cause strain on your fabrics.
A dryer that continues to run with a clogged vent can cause internal problems that require repairs. This means more money for you.
Your dryer vent should be cleaned once a year. If you’re unsure of how to clean your vent or want professional assistance, contact a cleaning specialist like SERVPRO today!
15 Year Anniversary for SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights
This month, August, our office will be celebrating 15 years of being open for business! It’s hard to believe that it has been that long. During these years we have had the pleasure of helping so many of our Arlington Heights and Prospect Heights residents, business owners, School District and Village (municipality) customers with either water damages, fire clean ups, mold remediation or any other of our services. We have been members of the Arlington Heights and Prospect Heights Chambers of Commerce and also members of the Better Business Bureau (with an A+ rating) for 9 of the 15 years. Also, our office has tried to give back to the community and one of the ways we have been able to make a small difference is in our annual food drive. Each year we work together with some of the local businesses and schools to collect non perishable food items for the food pantry. This has been very rewarding for us and hopefully helpful to the needy within the community. We look forward to many more years of providing emergency disaster cleanup services to our local residents.
Better Business Bureau Accreditation
SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights is proud to announce that we are once again a Better Business Bureau accredited business! Our office has been in business for 15 years and has been a part of the Better Business Bureau for 9 of those 15 years. While being an accredited business, we had consistently received an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and we had also received a “Complaint Free” certificate for each of the 9 years that we were accredited. We look forward to working once again as an accredited business, helping customers with their disaster cleanups and by providing the A+ service that we have been known to provide. We hope this accreditation will give you the confidence in our office to call us if the unexpected happens such as water damage and the peace of mind of knowing that you will be helped by a company that cares about its customers and that cares about the service our customers receive.
Although our kids may enjoy the rain, it may not be as fun for us adults! Rain can cause unnecessary water accumulation around the foundation of your house, it can cause outside sewers to quickly fill where they can't keep up with the rain, and it can cause streets to flood causing water to enter your home or business; when these instances occur, it can cause flooding at your property. When this happens, you need a professional such as SERVPRO to help with the clean up! SERVPRO of Arlington Heights./Prospect Heights has 15 years of experience cleaning up flooded basements, from residential to commercial we are here to assist, why not call our office today at 847-637-3445, and feel free to browse our website for additional services we provide.
Commercial Water Damage in Arlington Heights
SERVPRO’s services are not only for residential properties but are also for commercial properties. This picture is of a recent water damage clean up in Arlington Heights, where some of the doctors’ offices became affected when water from the outside seeped in flooding their offices and their hallways. Several pieces of drying equipment were necessary to dry out the affected portions of the building. If you are a business owner or a property manager and have had this happen to your place of business or any of your properties, why not give our office a call at 847-637-3445 to help with the clean up? SERVPRO of Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights has the experience and the know how to handle this and many other cleaning situations. Browse our website for more details of our clean up services.