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Archive for April, 2012

This blog is the 3rd in a series of blogs that I will be posting over the next few weeks on how to make the most of a trip to Disneyland in California. The lines just to get into Disneyland can be quite daunting. Do not let your day getting started on the wrong foot. Here is a video to get you started:

Tip#1- Bag Check- Disneyland has a security check before you enter the main promenade between the two parks (Disneyland and California Adventures). Regardless of whether you are passing thru, returning from earlier in the day, or visiting one of the two parks, you will have to go thru security and have all your bags, and strollers inspected. Don’t worry, this is not as bad as the airport security! J But to make your pass thru easier and quicker you should have all your zipper pockets open and ready for inspection. This includes lunch boxes, water back packs, purses, camera bags, basically anything you are carrying will be inspected. If you are traveling with a stroller make sure not to have a bunch of bugs stuffed underneath. They will ask you to remove them and allow them to inspect them. The easier you make it for the security guards, the easier and quicker you will be able to get finished and on with your day. Side note: If you are traveling without bags, there is usually a line to one side for those individuals, keep an eye out for this shortcut if you are traveling light! J

Tip#2- Ticket Lines- Tickets at the park are always more expensive and who wants to wait in line at the beginning of your day. Consider purchasing your tickets online (and printing them) or at your resort. This will save you time and almost always save you money! Don’t worry, any tickets printed online will be swapped out quickly at the main gain turnstiles when you arrive into a regular ticket.

Tip#3- Main Gate Lines- Especially around opening time, these lines can look horrendous. Don’t worry, they usually move quite quickly. However, to save a little time watch for lines that have both gates open and both turnstiles in use, also the lines further away from you may very well be shorter. Also look for lines with the least amount of strollers. Since strollers have to go through the center of the turnstiles (little gate), there can sometimes be delays in this process.  So take a look at the lines and do quick strategizing as to what line would make the most sense.

I hope these tips help you to make the most of your Disneyland trip. Please check back on my blog for future tips on how to create the best vacation at the Happiest Place On Earth! If you have any questions about planning a trip to Disneyland or would like to leave a comment, please use the comment section below.

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This blog is the 2nd in a series of blogs that I will be posting over the next few weeks on how to make the most of a trip to Disneyland in California. One of the most frustrating things I have come across is walking all the way across the park to the next attraction on your list to find out that it is close due to technical difficulties or the lines are 2+ hours long (which I won’t wait that long for any ride)! However, there are several ways you can check on attraction statuses and wait times.  Here is a video to get you started:

If you don’t have a smartphone App such as “DL Waits”, you can always utilize Disney’s status board. This board is located at the end of Main Street on the left hand side towards the entrance to Adventure Land. This board will list the status (closed for refurbishment, or technical difficulties) and the wait times for all the major attractions. Of course the smartphone App is usually going to be the most convenient if you are not near the board; however I have found that the board is going to be the most accurate. In addition, a great benefit of going to the board is that there are always outstanding casts members stationed at this board to help you with directions or any questions you might have at the park (including what times and locations your favorite characters will be making an appearance)! So next time you are visiting Disneyland make sure to check out the board and visit the cast members in order to plan for a fantastic day at the park.

I hope these tips help you to make the most of your Disneyland trip. Please check back on my blog for future tips on how to create the best vacation at the Happiest Place On Earth! If you have any questions about planning a trip to Disneyland or would like to leave a comment, please use the comment section below.

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This blog is the 1st in a series of blogs that I will be posting over the next few weeks on how to make the most of a trip to Disneyland in California. One of the best ways to make the most of your Disneyland vacation is to take advantage of Disney’s FastPass Service. Here is a video to get you started:

Getting a FastPass is easy! First you need to take a look at the Disneyland attraction map and find out which rides offer the FastPass service. Then pick your favorite, head to that ride and find the FastPass Distribution. You take your park entry ticket, slide it into the scanner at the distribution site and a FastPass ticket will be issued to you. This ticket will have a 1 hour time period for you to return during. When you return to the ride during your allotted time, you will then take the FastPass Return line that in most cases should take you almost to the front of the line, drastically reducing your wait time.

One important thing to note is that you can generally only have one FastPass ticket at a time. However there is an exception to this. If you have a FastPass return time that is greater than 2 hours from the time it was issued, you can then obtain another FastPass after the 2 hours have expired. On the bottom of your FastPass ticket it will tell you the time that your next FastPass would be available! Also note, you must have a FastPass ticket for all the members of your party. We usually have one person in our party who carries all of our park tickets together. That person is then the disignated person to obtain our FastPasses throughout that day. However, if you plan on splitting up, keep this in mind so that you can all enjoy the rides together if you so choose to.

I hope these tips help you to make the most of your Disneyland trip. Please check back on my blog for future tips on how to create the best vacation at the Happiest Place On Earth! If you have any questions about planning a trip to Disneyland or would like to leave a comment, please use the comment section below.

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In this economy and recession, the most common comment I hear among co-workers and friends is “I am too overloaded with work, but how can I tell my boss that it is too much?”  This is a tough question. Most people are worried that if they tell their boss that they can’t handle the workload that they will be seen as inadequate and that you can’t handle this job. Even though there is a possibility of this, most involved bosses should know how much is on your plate and what the realistic workload is. My definition of an involved boss, is a boss who is involved with your work enough to know what you do, how well you do it, and how long it should roughly take. If you have an involved boss then they will already know that you have too much work before you even approach them. However, if you have an uninvolved boss, this is a great opportunity to work together to create a manageable workload and make him aware of how much is on your plate. It is important to note, however, that you need to be careful with how you approach this issue. Here are a few tips to help you begin this communication:

Tip #1– Don’t go in complaining that you have too much work and can’t handle it. Approach it as more of a “How can I improve processes to reduce the amount of time and work involved?”  Or “Is there anything that you think I can change to help make the workload more manageable?” Make it about improving yourself and that will get a much more positive reaction.

Tip #2- Approach your boss with some possible solutions to make the workload manageable, but be careful not to suggest that it should just be moved to someone else (they most likely have a similar work load already as well). However, if you suspect that there might be someone else that might have some time to help out of take over part of the load, you can simply as “Is there anyone else that might have time to assist was some of these projects?”

Tip #3- Carefully look at your work and see if you have the appropriate prioritization approach to the projects or tasks you have to accomplish. Are there some tasks that can wait till later? Or are there large projects or tasks that can be broken down into smaller pieces so that they are more manageable and less intimidating.

It comes down to the fact that no one likes to ask for help, but if you are overloaded or on the verge of burnout, you have not helping yourself or the company. When overloaded and burned out you are less productive and efficient, thus actually accomplishing less than if you were not overloaded. Try not to stress as much about how much is on your plate and concentrate on how to tackle you plate in a productive and efficient manner. Communicating with your boss is crucial and should not be forgotten.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below!

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One of the hardest things most people struggle with is the art of delegating. This can be extremely difficult for those of us who are perfectionists or control freaks. The biggest fear when delegating is that the project or task either doesn’t get done up to our standards, or doesn’t get done at all! However, in order to be the most efficient, whether you are a manager or not, delegating plays a crucial role in achieving efficiency. The following tips should help you design a delegating strategy:

Tip #1- What should you delegate? At the beginning, start delegating small projects. Projects that you don’t have a problem letting someone else control how they get to their outcome. Allow enough completion time to field questions and to help resolve any errors or issues that arise when reviewing the outcome. In addition, do not delegate items that you yourself do not want to tackle. This will lead to your team losing respect in your position.

Tip #2- Choose who you should delegate to. Be selective when you are delegating a task. Take a look at the strengths and proficiency levels of your team members and delegate accordingly. You want to choose the best people for the job to be done efficiently, effectively, and accurately. You also want to make sure that the people you select can work independently from your supervision. If you have to supervise everything they do, then you aren’t saving any time for yourself with delegating it.

Tip #3- Clearly Communicate the Outcome. Clear communication is critical for any project, especially when delegating. Give clear and concise communication as to the expectations of the work to be performed. In addition, it is critical to include a timeline of when items should be completed and provide all the necessary information for your team to accomplish the project.

Tip #4- Check In and Offer Guidance. Check in with your team members periodically to make sure they are not spinning their wheels, however don’t be overbearing. Still give them the freedom to determine the best way for them to complete the task, but offer assistance for when they might be stuck on something that you might be able to assist to get things progressing along.

Tip #5- Give Credit Where Credit it is Due. As with any project, always give credit where credit is due. You will gain respect from your team when you reward and recognize them for assisting you in completing your goals. If you take all the credit for their assistance, you will find that they will be reluctant to help you out in the future. If you directly receive any awards based on the project, make sure to include them and share them with your team.

Delegating is one of the most important management tools. With the above tips, you will be off to a great start in learning and maintaining a healthy delegating environment.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below!

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As we begin our spring cleaning regimen, it dawned on me that the spaces in the house that seem to need the most time and energy are the kid spaces. We have loft that is devoted for all the kid’s toys, books, crafts, puzzles, games etc. By having this designated space it is nice because we don’t have toys in their bedrooms. This cuts down on a lot of night time battles of them wanting to play instead of sleep. However, when spring cleaning time comes around, it is always a chore to organize and decide what stays and what is ready to go. Here are a few tips to help you tackle your kid spaces.

Tip #1- Gather all the kids toys that have made their way through the entire house. Bring them to one central location (such as a play room or where you normally store all the toys). This way, as you hunt for all the missing pieces to various sets, you have everything already in front of you.

Tip#2- Sort out all the broken items. These are obviously the easy choices when starting the downsizing process of old, broken, and not played with anymore toys. So take the easy start and get rid of these first.

Tip#3- Start sorting all the items that go together. This will allow you to have a better handle on what items are missing, and what does or does not belong in the designated kid space.

Tip#4- This is probably one of the hardest! Determining what stays and what goes. The conventional wisdom is that if it hasn’t been played with in 6-12 months, it is probably time to consider getting rid of it. However as with most things with kids, it can sometimes be hard to get the kids to be willing to part with anything! What I do with my kids is this, I decide what items should be considered to be parted with. Then I let them put in their input into the decision. If they are unwilling to part with most of it or any of it, then I give them the option to “save” a portion of the items (if there are 10 items, I may let them chose 3-4 that they can keep). Even though we don’t get rid of all of them, we at least have taken care of the majority of them. However, I do also let them make a good case if they really want to keep more than the allotted amount. They just have to prove to me why they are not ready to give it up. This also requires them to really think about the items and provide a strong reasoning. Reasoning skills is a great thing to teach children when they are young.

Tip#5- Creating a way to store and keep toys organized throughout the year. This will make it easier to keep up with the messes and missing items that get spread throughout the house so that spring cleaning isn’t such a chore every spring!

I hope this blog is helpful for you in tackling your spring cleaning this year and going forward!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below!

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This blog is at the request of one of my readers. Thank you for the suggestion Addie! Every time a major appliance reaches the end of its life cycle or a car is beyond reparability I cringe at the stress, time, and decisions that will need to be made when having to make large purchases.  Here are a few tips to help get you through your next major purchase:

  • Assess what you really need! Most people do not need or even end up using all the “bells and whistles” that salesman try to sell you on. Determine what you really need and really want before you even go to the store. Do you research. With the internet you can find out just about anything and everything you need to know about the products and options you are looking for. Take that list with you to the store and really think and take your time on deciding on additional options that the salesmen are trying to say they are the “must haves”!
  • Know your budget! One of the most important things to follow when making these purchases is to set a budget and stick to it. You don’t want to end up being schmoozed by the salesman into extra “bells and whistles” that you can’t afford. The worst thing you can do is buy something that is above what you can afford and end up making payments for the entire life of the item, just to start all over again.
  • Shop around and compare prices! These days the internet makes it really easy to compare prices. However, don’t let price be your complete decision maker as to where you will buy your product. Since this is a major purchase, you also want to take into consideration the service history of the place you are purchasing as well as the reliability of the models they are selling. Some places can offer lower prices on models that are similar to the top rated models but are possibly of slightly lower quality or ratings. This can affect the long term life of the product. In addition, if you purchase from a place with poor service ratings, the cost you saved could end up being a much bigger headache if you have any issues with the product. Get recommendations from your friends and family as to their experiences with various competitors. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask if the more reputable places will price match. More times then not they will price match just to get your business.
  •  Your Time is valuable! Don’t waste too much time on price shopping. There will always be someone out there that may be willing the sell you a product slightly lower than another place. But your time is at a cost too, so determining exactly what product will suite your needs, determining who will offer the best services, and getting a reasonable price without spending too much of your valuable time is the way to go!

At the end of the day it boils down to the fact that you need to pick the product you want in the price range that you can afford and just get it done! I hope that you have found this blog helpful in making major purchases. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of topics that you would like me to discuss in the future, or would like me to expand on any of my previous topics, please use the comment section below! 🙂

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