Business Digest - September, 2011

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Back to School   Green Living Tip  Quick Tips: Money   Theo's Corner

Getting It All Done

Do you find yourself constantly putting things off? You are not alone! September 6th is Fight Procrastination Day. Everyone suffers from procrastination at one time or another. For some, it is an ongoing battle. There are ways, however, to jump-start your to do list.

Break tasks down into small tasks.

Saying you need to organize your kitchen cabinets can seem like a huge job, but organizing just your silverware drawer may not be so bad. For every big job, make a list of all the parts that need to be done and tackle them one by one. Pretty soon, your big job will be completed without feeling so big.

Know your weaknesses.

Take a moment to think about your worst source of procrastination. Is it doing the laundry, making sales calls, planning for dinner? Make this job your number one priority of the day. By accomplishing this task first, you will free yourself up to move forward without it hanging over your head.

Do you have 15 minutes to spare?

Even in the busiest schedule, most people can find 15 minutes a day. Budget this short time to tackling a project that you've really wanted to get done, but never seem to get to. It seems like a short time, but it is amazing what can be accomplished in this short time. You may find that you spend even longer working on your project once you get started.

Reward yourself for a job well done.

Plan something nice for yourself--a movie, a special meal, a weekend away--but only do this if the project you've been putting off gets done. Share your goals with someone close to you and you will get encouragement along the way.

Cure the problem.

Recognize that while procrastination may be caused by simple laziness or boredom, often it is a sense of fear that keeps us from getting started. You may also feel overwhelmed or stressed in general. Take some time to examine whether eliminating some other tasks might help you feel less pressured. If it is fear that is stopping you, working through that anxiety first will help you prepare to get the job done. Most importantly, be ready to admit if the job you are trying to accomplish is really necessary after all. You may find that it is something you'd like to get done, but that doesn't really need to be finished. Giving yourself a break may be the best way to get motivated in the long run, as you will be doing projects when you are more interested in them.

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Back to School

Are you looking for a change? It may be time to head back to school! Whether you've never attended college, or started and never got that degree, you may find that you now need more training and education to advance your career. Experts agree that one of the keys to bettering yourself and your family's future is higher education. Holders of a bachelor's degree earn an average of 50 percent more than someone with just a high school diploma. To decide if college is right for you, take these points into consideration.

Take a Test

Many colleges and universities offer career placement tests to help you discover your talents and interests. You may find that you really only need a two-year certificate, rather than a four-year program, to meet your goals. You can also get advice from a guidance counselor or librarian about careers that are projected to be in high demand in the future. One test you may be able to skip, however, is the SAT. Many colleges have modified their admissions criteria and offer alternative admissions tests. If you have never completed high school, you will need to get your GED before taking any admissions tests.

Look Around

Surprisingly, 40 percent of American college students are 25 years of age or older. Many colleges and universities offer programs specifically designed for working adults. You may find that you only need to attend classes one or two nights a week. Often, classes are scheduled to allow you to complete more courses in a shorter amount of time than traditional college degree programs. Some colleges offer on-site, low-cost day care and other services for parents. You may be able to take some of your classes by email, video, or Internet. Many colleges grant college credit for your life experiences, giving you a head start on your education.

Save a Buck or Two

If you think that you don't have enough money in your budget for college, explore the numerous financial aid opportunities available to you. Scholarships and federal grants are designed to help you afford an education, and they don't have any age restrictions. Be sure to get information on all the programs for which you qualify from the student financial services office. You can also contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID or for more information on government student aid programs. Many students are pleasantly surprised to discover all the funds that are available to them.

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Green Living Tip

Carpeting in your home can trap environmental hazards that come into your home. This can lead to a buildup of toxins in the air of your home. Carpets also harbor dust mites and other allergens. Your best bet is to replace carpets with hardwood or tile floors. But if you love your carpets, be sure to vacuum them at least once per week and have them professionally cleaned twice a year.

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Quick Tips: Money

Did you know that online banking is actually safer than banking at a brick-and-mortar institution? Banks are required to secure their online sites and are among the most secure on the Internet. By paying your bills using your bank's online bill pay service, you will also avoid the risk of old-fashioned identity theft by thieves who raid your mailbox.

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Theo's Corner

Seven Tips for a Well Behaved Dog

1.  Start as early as possible. While you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks, it is much easier to begin obedience training when your dog is young.

2.  Use positive, motivational methods for training. Incorporate play into your training sessions by using constructive games like Hide-n-Seek or Fetch.

3.  Only give one command at a time. One command should equal one response. Avoid repeating the same command over and over. Give the command, guide your dog to the correct behavior, and then reward and praise him.

4.  Avoid using a loud voice when training. Use a normal speaking tone to get your dog used to following commands in a calm and authoritative setting.

5.  Discipline after bad behavior does not work. You must catch your dog in the act of misbehaving to correct the behavior. Correct the behavior instead of punishing the dog.

6.  If your dog is prone to negative behavior (jumping up on you, begging for food, etc.) do not give him excess negative attention when he misbehaves. Instead, correct calmly and quickly and then show him good behavior. Save the excess attention for when he does something correctly.

7.  Watch your own mood. If you are having a bad day or are feeling grouchy or impatient, it may not be the best time to do training. Instead, train your dog when you are feeling upbeat and can spend good quality time with your pet.

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