Staying Healthy at Home

In today’s economy, more and more people are being asked to go above and beyond the expectation of working 40 hours per week. Kids’ schedules are becoming increasingly complex, family time is being continually squeezed and unfortunately people’s health is frequently one of the first things to be sacrificed. This is rather unfortunate as this makes all of the other responsibilities even more challenging than they already are. Staying physically and mentally healthy are of critical importance for an enjoyable and productive life. Are you taking care of your health or have you let other things take over?

Last week we looked at ways that you can take care of your health in the workplace. Today we are going to look at ways in which you can take care of yourself at home. Hopefully some of these will help you along the way to improving your health, or will give you alternative solutions to what you are currently doing. We would love to hear of any other ways in which you stay healthy, either at home or in the workplace, so please leave your ideas in the comment box below!

The first thing to do is to work on separating work from family.  This is an ever woman on computer in bedincreasing problem where parents and spouses are in the same room as their loved ones, but they aren’t actually present. More and more people are working remotely due to technologies that are now available to us. This is great in many ways, but can also be problematic as your home is now your place of work, and you can get trapped in “the office”.

Try to separate your work from your home life by having a designated room where you go to work. Keep all electronics and other work related items in here so that you truly can separate work from play. Try not to fall into the trap of having your computer or phone with you at all times where you are constantly connected to work, and miss out on the time with your family. We all need downtime to relax, have fun, and keep our stress levels under control. Make sure that you aren’t overdoing it, because it will catch up with you at some point. Here are our 10 most important factors when it comes to all-round health.

NOTE: We are not medical professionals and this list is just a collection of ways in which my family and I try to stay healthy. If you are concerned with your personal health you should set up an appointment with your doctor to discuss solutions.

(1) Diet

  • Eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit portion sizes
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay hydrated – take your weight and divide it in two.  That is how many ounces of water you should drink in a day.

(2) Grocery shopping

  • Try to visit your local farmer’s market when possible to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Stock up on healthy snacks
  • Have a refillable water bottle on hand for when you are on the go
  • Limit purchases of high sugar, high fat foods so that they aren’t easily available
  • Try to spend the majority of your time in the store on the edges – protein, dairy and produce – and less time among the dry goods.

(3) Financial health 

  • Budgets – meet with a financial adviser for professional help in this direction. There are also some great financial trackers out there including Mint and EveryDollar.
  • Establish 529 college funds for your children’s future education expenses
  • Pay down credit card balances and avoid interest charges
  • Regularly contribute to retirement funds to take advantage of compound interest
  • If your company provides a 401k match, take advantage of this “free money” at least up to the amount that your employer provides

(4) Exercise

  • Choose activities that you enjoy. Walking, dancing, gardening, and playing in the yard with your children are all great ways to exercise.
  • Try to create a regular schedule so that your exercise becomes a routine
  • Work out with someone else
  • Perform other tasks at this time – for example you can read while on an exercise bike, or listen to a podcast as you complete a run or bike-ride.

(5) Sun

  • Steer clear of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m when the sun is at it’s most dangerous.
  • Wear hats, long-sleeve shirts and sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Don’t use sunlamps or tanning booths. Try self-tanning creams instead.
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent damage caused by exposure to UV rays

(6) Minimize vices

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Avoid risky behaviors such as speeding, gambling and dangerous driving

(7) Staying mentally healthy

  • Keep your mind limber – reading, completing puzzles, enrolling in a class
  • Rest and relaxation – take time out of your schedule to pursue your passions, and spend time with your loved ones
  • Sleep – adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep daily

(8) Setting goals

As is the case with many things in life, there is a need to set SMART goals when it comes to your health. This might be a target weight that you want to reach, a size of clothing that you want to be able to fit into, or the number of glasses of water that you want to drink on a daily basis. Whatever your goal there are multiple apps that can help you track them including Fitbit, Samsung Health and My Fitness Pal.

(9) Annual health check ups

These are frequently covered by your health insurance policies and you should definitely take advantage of them. They are great for collecting baseline data, reviewing past medical concerns, and catching potential health issues before they become too problematic.

(10) Prioritize your health

We saved the most important for last: Make sure that your health is always at the top of your priority list!

Until next week, stay healthy, and Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do.


Investing in yourself, a guaranteed win

Most people think that investing in the stock market is the best thing that they can do for their financial future. However, investing in yourself is significantly more important for a variety of reasons. Today we look at 11 ways in which you can do just that. 

(1) Get a mentor – Find someone who you respect, has a track record of success, and is beard-2286440_960_720willing to help you grow. You are essentially searching for a personal coach who can help guide you through the many minefields you will encounter throughout your career. Find someone who has been there and done that so that they can save you time, effort and money. This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is closely tied to the position that you occupy and the industry that you work in. Working with an “outsider” can be extremely beneficial as they have no bias and are naturally more inquisitive to understand your business more. Another benefit of finding someone outside of your company is they don’t have a personal stake in your success, meaning they give you unbiased feedback, share their experiences, and offer the support system that you need to take your career to the next level.

Tip: Your mentor doesn’t have to be older than you! They also don’t have to be in the same line of work. They just need to be successful and be willing to share their secret sauce with you! 

(2) Join a group or organization – This can have multiple benefits as there are many different opportunities that typically arise from surrounding yourself with similar minded people who have common goals in place. You could join a professional organization such as the NSCAA, your local IFMA chapter, or the nearby Chamber of Commerce. All of these will provide you with opportunities to share problems with professionals in similar positions as well as giving you multiple opportunities to network and participate in industry specific workshops and trainings. Associated benefits include newsletters, discounts, the chance to be recognized for your work, and access to thousands of people in the same boat as you.

Tip 1: If there isn’t a group that fits your needs, create one!

Tip 2: Attend your first event as a guest to see if it is something that you see value in before committing financially. 

(3) Volunteer –  Besides the good you will be doing for others, another major benefit of donating your time and efforts is the associated feel-good factor which can significantly improve your health and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.

Tip: Volunteer for something that means something to you, and as above, if it doesn’t currently exist, create it!

(4) Work sponsored professional development opportunities

Speak to your HR department to see how they are prepared to support their employees in their pursuit of professional development. If you can demonstrate how the training will benefit the company, the impact it will have on your work performance, and the total cost of your venture, you should be able to secure financial support.

Tip: Try to find online classes as well as training sessions that are held outside of work hours to minimize disruption to your work schedule and responsibilities. 

(5) Listen to a podcast

woman-977019_960_720If you can’t find anything that fits your needs, create your own podcast! This could even be a collective effort where you collaborate with a couple of other individuals to discuss current issues in your industry.

Tip: Save time and look after your health by listening to a podcast while walking, running or biking. 

(6) Participate in webinars

There are many free webinars that are available online these days, and many of these are available at multiple times throughout the day. The typical structure is that they have the webinar live during work-hours, but upon it’s conclusion a recording is sent to all registrants so that they can watch it in their own time.

(7) Watch a YouTube video

I think that there is a “how to” YouTube video out there for any need that you can think of. My husband and I repaired our washing machine a couple of months ago by following step by step instructions by an appliance repair store who had posted the video on their Facebook page.

Tip: Search for industry leading companies and individuals and see what they are creating or watching.

(8) Read 

You can read fiction books to feed your imagination, or you can read non-fiction and books-1701522_960_720professional development books that will provide you with ideas that you can integrate into your daily activities. You could also look into starting a book-club with colleagues or friends where you get together monthly to discuss how you can take the ideas presented in the book and add them into your workplace.

Tip: If you aren’t able to get together to discuss in person, you can use applications such as Skype and Microsoft Teams for face to face interactions. 

(9) Take a class or seminar

These are available all over the place! A good starting point is to visit an industry specific membership group such as IFMA is you are a facilities manager. You can then view and register for training events that meet the criteria that you have in place. You can Google nearby events, and you can also communicate with fellow professionals for recommendations.

Tip: There are many great classes out there that are available for free from platforms such as Alison and Coursera.

(10) Have a monthly expert present at your place of work

This is something that has had tremendous success for many reasons. The best aspect is giving a presentationthat it can be held at your place of work so that everyone can attend. It’s also great as the content can be tweaked to hit the key ideas that you are looking for support with. Any questions that are asked are relevant to your business, and you will be able to have great follow up conversations with your teammates who were in attendance. Find someone who is an expert in the area that you are focusing on, reach out to them, and see what it would take for them to present to your team.

Tip: Many professionals will be honored to be considered for this opportunity, and they are typically very motivated by the new clients that can emerge from the interaction. 

(11) Attend industry specific trade-shows

This is a great way to keep up to date with industry trends, rub shoulders with potential clients, meet strategic partners, and to get a better understanding of what your prospective customers are looking for.

Tip: Many trade-shows provide free access to the exhibit hall where you will have the opportunity to connect with vendors, see demonstrations, sign up for newsletters, and enter drawings for some cool gear!

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

With all the gifts that my husband receives I try to make them as personal as possible, with an emotional piece attached to each gift. I believe that the thought that went into making or purchasing the gift is the most important thing and the place where you can show your appreciation and love.  In case you are having last-minute struggles finding the perfect gift, here are some ideas that might help!

  • Favorite sports team apparel – you really can’t go wrong with this one. The majority of men have a favorite team whether it be a professional team, a national team, a college team, or it could even be the team that your child plays on.
  • Favorite breakfast or meal – if your man is one who appreciates breakfast in bed, this is a great day to put this plan in motion!  Otherwise, making their favorite meal, no matter how complicated, is a great way to show appreciation for all that they do.
  • Personalized cup or mug – the first Father’s day gift that my husband received was 20170616_113257a handprint mug.  Seeing as our son was only about 5 months, this didn’t turn out perfectly, but he loved it all the same!
  • Let the kids pick out a gift. This started when my husband let my then 2 year old son pick out a birthday card and gift for me. He was obsessed with dogs at the time, so unsurprisingly my card featured a canine friend! I also ended up receiving a gift card to Panda Express as my son was drawn in by the Panda and it was also at a height that he could easily see and reach.  Last year, I took him to the local 5 Below and let him choose anything in the store to give to his dad for a gift.  It was as much fun for me as it was for dad when he got his new soccer ball!
  • Paint something – you can purchase canvas boards at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  Set it up on an easel with basic paint colors and let the magic happen!
  • Take a special photo – My husband is from England and is a soccer fanatic. This is DSC_0660 4actually how he ended up in Kansas City. Unsurprisingly, as soon as my boys could walk, my husband rolled a soccer ball out at their feet! The three things that my husband loves the most in the world are his family, his country, and football. I dressed my two boys in their England soccer kits, sat them down with a ball in front of a soccer goal, and took a photo which I then had put onto a canvas.
  • A personalized fishing tackle box or cooler- we did this for my dad a couple of years ago.  My dad already had a perfectly good tackle box, but needed a small cooler for his lunch (and possibly worms)!  We decorated the side of the cooler with handprint fish for a personal touch.
  • A gift that the dad in your life can complete with those around him – Last year I got 20170616_113405my husband a toolbox set that he had to paint and assemble with the assistance of my two sons. This was a great activity that allowed the three of them to spend time together, and it also produced a very personal gift that has meaning for all of them.

What is the best thing that you have done for the dads in your life? Which gift has tugged on their heart strings? Share your ideas below, and if you haven’t done so already be sure to make Sunday an extra special day for all the fathers in your life. Until next time, take care, and Expect The Exceptional in everything that you do!


Staying healthy in the workplace

Most American workers live a fast-paced life that can feel hectic at times. In this new economy, many companies require employees to do more with less. To be effective and to work healthy, you must learn to properly manage your time and stress levels.

chart americans work long hours

On average 39.2% of American workers reported work weeks in excess of 50 hours. Does this mean that American workers are more dedicated to their jobs than others? Does it mean that they are more fearful of losing their jobs? Are their bosses more demanding of their time? Or does it mean that American workers are just very inefficient at what they do? All of these items should be considered when looking at this problem.

I personally believe that the economic crash of 2008/2009 had a huge impact on most families, and workers are now doing everything that they can to prove their commitment to the company. I also believe that some people just really love their jobs and don’t see it as work. My husband is so passionate about what he does that he will frequently work on tasks in the evenings and weekends because he believes in the company’s vision, and loves the challenge that he faces!

Given the ridiculous number of hours that employees are currently spending at the office, we are going to look at some ways in which you can boost your health, and consequently your productivity.

Time management – ask any for-profit business owner and they will tell you that the output is more important than the input. Being at work for 60 hours per week, and completing the same amount of work that it takes someone else to complete in half the time is extremely inefficient. High quality time management strategies can help you to complete more work in less time! Creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks, delegating, and collaborating are all ways in which you can work more effectively and efficiently. This creates more time for you to exercise, relax, and spend time with loved ones.

Taking advantage of breaks – all workers are legally entitled to breaks throughout the day and you should take advantage of these. It’s important to get up out of your chair, stretch your legs out, get the oxygen flowing, and give your eyes a break from staring at the screen or papers in front of you.

Diet – the extra time spent at work, and the associated time spent travelling means that personal time is being squeezed out of the common American worker. Lunch breaks are shorter or non-existent, employees are bouncing from meeting to meeting, and they are having to make phone calls in the car or check email on the train in an attempt to stay afloat. With this hectic lifestyle and constant rushing, many people do not take the time to eat a healthy diet through the day. It’s often an energy drink out of the vending machine when they arrive at work in the morning, fast food for lunch, and frequently a drive thru on the way home. On the surface, these practices appear to be freeing up more time for work, but does this behavior actually lead to the productivity levels required in today’s world? Check out these tips on how you can eat healthier during the workday.

Getting fresh air and sunshine – It has been shown that sunshine can lead to improveddubai-977365_1920 (1) mood, stronger bones, reduced chances of depression, and improved skin conditions. Getting outside for 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 minutes in the afternoon can have a tremendously beneficial impact on your overall health. Find a colleague or two and complete this daily activity collectively.

Staying hydrated – America runs on coffee, but unfortunately this drink’s popularity, or intake, isn’t matched by that of water. Everyone manages to find time to grab their morning cup of joe, but many people will then go the entire day without drinking anything else because they do not leave their desk. Have bottled water in a drawer at your desk, use the water fountain every time you visit the bathroom, or take a water bottle with you each day and make sure that you drink it all over the course of your time at work.

Make a healthy change – most of us are guilty of one unhealthy behavior or another.  Maybe you have a weakness for soda, or are a smoker.  You could have a box of candy hidden in your desk drawer at all times, or get all your meals from the vending machine.  All of these things will negatively effect your work performance.  Dedicate yourself to making a change in your unhealthy behaviors and you will definitely notice a difference in your everyday life!

Participating in group fitness activities – we all know the benefits of exercise on individual health. A great way to promote healthy living in your place of work is to have men-1179452_1920your entire workforce participate in physical activities. This could be a 5k run/walk, completing a marathon as part of a relay team, a sponsored bike ride, or even adopting the local highway and being responsible for the upkeep of the adjacent areas. All of these activities allow people to exercise with their colleagues around them, which provides the added bonus of team building!

Choosing insurance policies where a healthy lifestyle is promoted AND rewarded – many policies now have options where holders are rewarded for participating in certain activities that positively impact their health. Our current policy rewards you for the number of steps you take, annual medical screenings, dental check ups, and participating in fitness activities such as 5k’s or other sporting events. If your policy doesn’t have these benefits, provide your HR department with the following example of Humana and their accompanying well-being program, Go365.

Making the most of vacation time and PTO – We are all given vacation time and personal time for a reason. The thing that you need to remember to do, is to take advantage of it! Many people in the current economic climate want to show their bosses and owners that they are committed to their job and pass on vacation time. In the long run this tends to have a negative impact as the employee gets burnt out and their performance starts to drop. Take advantage of the days that you have at your disposal. Take that time off to go and help at your child’s field day, use a day to accompany your daughter on her college visit, and take those few days to go and visit loved ones. If you relax properly, you can recharge your batteries, and be even more productive upon your return.

Getting up and about and moving – Being sat in the same spot for more than an hour at a time is not healthy. Try to get up to use the bathroom, get a drink, go to the copier, or even just to walk around the office to get your blood flowing again! You might also want to speak to your HR department about the possibilities of incorporating group stretching activities into your daily routines.

We spend over a third of our day at work, so it is imperative that we are taking great care of ourselves during these hours. Hopefully the above suggestions will help give you a nudge in the right direction towards a healthier lifestyle. Make sure to take care of yourself first and foremost, and maintain a healthy balance. Next week we will take a look at what you can do to stay healthy at home! Until then, stay healthy, and expect the exceptional in everything that you do.



Your most successful post

I have spent some time over the past few months looking for trends, and analyzing ways in which I can get my message out to more people, in more places. With this in mind, this week I am asking for you to share your most successful article so far, as well as a brief explanation of why you think it was so well received. Looking forward to reading all of the comments and all of the 5* posts (again)!

The most successful post so far on the Expect The Exceptional blog is one from back in March that looked at ownership and accountability. I described how I had received terrible service from and e-commerce site, and after complaining about the product, they tried to bribe me to change my review. I think that this was so well received because many people in this day and age can relate to it, and I imagine there are millions of people out there who have experienced a situation similar to this.

As e-commerce becomes more common, and customer service continues to disappear, issues such as this are now part and parcel of life. Thankfully there are still many companies out there who are bucking the trend and are delivering world class customer service. Enjoy the read and until next time, Expect The Exceptional in everything that you do.  Click HERE to read the post.



When you’re searching for a new job…

Pay attention to these warning signwarnings!

Finding a new job is a daunting task, and sometimes desperation kicks in causing people to accept positions that may not be a great fit.  When you are interviewing for a new job, pay attention to your surroundings and ask questions to make sure it is the right place for you.  The following are some ideas for things to look for and ask about:

  1. Employee handbook: Make sure there is an employee handbook available for after you are hired to help answer questions you may not think to ask.  This is a great indicator of the company’s organizational tendencies as well.
  2. Employee benefits: Always a plus, and in many cases, the law.  At least for the time being, companies with a certain number of employees must offer insurance so do your research and make sure the company is doing the right thing.
  3. No organizational chart in place: It’s important to know who you are reporting chart  If a company tells you that “everyone is the captain of their own ship,” that may sound great in theory.  No boss!  Hooray!  But ultimately, if you don’t have one person guiding the ship, you will be pulled in many different directions and not much will get accomplished.
  4. No infrastructure in place: If a company feels it’s OK to purchase a used, $50 computer for their employees and expects great things to come from it, it’s probably not the company for you.  Because chances are, they will end up having to replace that computer with many, many more computers every time it breaks down.  Make sure that the company you are looking to work for has everything you need to successfully get your job done.
  5. Are focused purely on making money: You don’t want to work for a company without a social conscience.  Money is great, it’s why you work, but at the end of the day it’s also important to feel good about yourself and how you are spending your days.
  6. Accountability: This is related to the org chart mentioned above.  It is so important for companies to hold their employees accountable for their actions.  If you have a coworker that constantly rolls in at 10:30, while you’ve been there since 8:00, chances are you won’t be able to accomplish much together.  It is not your job as an employee to call your coworkers and wake them up; that is up to management, and if they are not doing their job that is a big red flag.
  7. Cleanliness of the building: Most office settings these days hire someone to clean for them, so this is usually something that you would not even notice.  But if you do see that the bathrooms look a little gnarly and the carpet is loaded with bits of paper and dust, chances are this company does not have someone cleaning on the weekends.  Which means A) you will be working in an unsanitary environment or B) you will be asked to assist with the cleaning.  Either way, ask about this at the interview before you find yourself cleaning toilets instead of getting your work done.
  8. Attitude of the owners/ executive team: What time does the boss get into the office?  What time do they leave?  If the owner of the company is putting in as many if not more hours than their employees, that’s a great sign.  It shows they are invested in the company and their employees.  If the owner has decided that they want to hand the reigns over to an under-qualified employee in order to spend more time at the lake, you probably want to look elsewhere.
  9. Longevity of staff:  What is the turnaround?  Look for a company with employees who have been around for many years and only leave to retire.
  10. Longevity of clients: If the company does indeed have clients, how long have they worked together?  If the clients hang around for many years, then it’s probably a great company to work with and therefore a great company to work for.
  11. Look for reviews: Facebook, Yelp, Google +, Glassdoor, and any industry specific forums all have a section for reviews. You may encounter upset former employees who want to go down with all guns blazing, but you should be able to get a good idea of the company given the comments that you read.

Hopefully this helps as you are searching for the perfect job.  Remember, just because they offer does not mean you have to accept!  Find something you will enjoy getting out of bed for in the morning, as this will have a direct effect on your happiness and well-being.  out of bed