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5 Signs It’s Time To Think About Retirement

Retirement has become a much less fixed concept over the years. It used to be that 60-65 aged professionals start preparing to say goodbye to the working world, but as the boomer generation reaches that age, many of them seem as enthusiastic about staying in the workforce as ever. However, just because the concept is changing doesn’t mean that retirement doesn’t work for some people. There are those among us to whom leaving work behind is the best scenario, or perhaps transitioning into a ‘working retirement’. For these people, deciding the right time to retire can be tricky. Without a set age to dictate things, the decision is left to you to feel the time is right. If you’re unsure about your own decision, consider these signs that might be telling you you’re ready to walk away.

Financially, you’re in good shape.

This is a big one. If you find that you agree with every sign that comes after on this list but your financial situation is not sorted out, then you’re not ready for retirement. For many boomers, staying at work later in life is not a choice, it’s a necessity. Their retirement savings are inadequate to sustain a lengthy retirement and therefore they need to keep working. There is no sense in retiring if you can’t make it work financially. You might think you can cut expenses here or their and get by, but if you haven’t planned it out well then you are setting yourself up for a lot of trouble down the road. Speak to a professional about your retirement plan before making any major decisions about whether it’s time to retire.

You’re losing interest in your work.

The boomer generation has long held a certain approach to their work that suggests satisfaction comes secondary to having financial security. However, as boomers age they are beginning to place much more importance on their own happiness at work. We are seeing a lot of boomers leave their careers to start their own businesses based on their passions and interests. Likewise, when boomers start to lose a passion for their work or find it hard to inspire the same interest in it as before, it might be time to move on.

You aren’t being challenged or fulfilled at work.

Similar to the previous point, boomers seem to strive for stimulating experiences even later in life. For some, work still provides that and going into work everyday gives them a sense of purpose. For others, that purpose fades over time. And that’s fine, it just means that maybe you should seek a new purpose elsewhere. If you are financially secure and able to retire comfortably, you should ask yourself what work is providing you. You might be surprised by the answer, or by the lack of answer you can give yourself.

Your hobbies are starting to become more of a priority.

As previously mentioned, boomers seem to be embracing their own interests and passions at this stage of their lives which is causing some to make big career changes. They have stuck with their career and made their money, but now it’s time for them to focus on those areas they love. However, the desire to explore those passions is not always as apparent to some. You might think of your hobbies as something on the side and not something to be realistically pursued. But if you find yourself thinking more about those hobbies than your own career, maybe it’s time to focus more on those interests.

You and your spouse are on the same page.

It goes without saying that retirement is a massive, life-altering decision, and as with any similar type of decision, it should not be made alone. This is a family decision, specifically between yourself and your spouse. Yes, it will ultimately be you who is leaving work behind, but the decision affects both of you in big ways. Discuss the idea, the challenges and the opportunities surrounding the decision. Make sure you are both on the same page in ever step of the way. Retirement can be difficult when you haven’t properly prepared for it, and involving those in your life as much as possible can make the whole thing a lot smoother.

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7 Tips For Managing An Overwhelming Schedule

Think back on your life, when was the time you were the busiest? For some, it would have been at school, trying to balance classes, papers, readings, maybe a sports teams, and the occasional social event. For others, it might be a certain job that seemed to take up all their time as they tried to climb the corporate ladder. Or maybe right now is when you’re the busiest. There will inevitably a time in your life when you are run off your feet with things to do. It can last for a week or it can last for years. It can come as a surprise or it can be an annual occurrence. Whatever the case, in order to get through these periods in one piece, you need to know how to manage your time. You might think you know how but when these situations arise and you’re caught off-guard it can be quite a challenging situation. Don’t let your schedule push your around, follow these time management tips.

Prioritize.

When met with such an overwhelming list of tasks, it can be tempting to just deal with each task as they come. While that might work for the rare situation, in many cases, you’ll find yourself wasting time on menial tasks instead of dealing with the more important stuff. To help avoid such problems, prioritize your work in a way that addresses the most important to-do first and then work your way down to the things that aren’t as pressing. Having those big jobs out of the way will give you some breathing room which is very much needed in situations like this.

Be realistic.

There are only so many seconds in the day and at some point the tasks you have on your plate will overflow to a point where you finally have to acknowledge you can’t do it all. It’s your responsibility to recognize how much you can take on and how much is realistic. The work won’t stop just because you can’t fit it in to your schedule, but being truthful about what came be done will at least allow for some necessary help or shifting of the workloads. This isn’t something you need to feel guilty about, it’s just using common sense. In fact, if you are taking on more than you know you can handle, you’re being irresponsible in your job.

Organize.

I know, when you have a million different things to do all at once, the last thing you want to do is sit down and organize. However, taking a few minutes to look at the situation and formulate an attack plan will save you a whole lot of time in the end. Start each morning by going over what needs to be done in that day and set blocks of time in which you can tackle each task. Make a daily schedule and stick to it. This will help you know where you stand at the end of every day and avoid you overbooking yourself. This isn’t to say you won’t need to improvise adapt to new situations every now and then, but it will start you off in the right direction.

Delegate.  

In the same vain as admitting when the things on your to-do list have reached an unrealistic point, you also have to be willing to ask for help. Some people avoid this, thinking it’s not fair to pass off their work on to other people, but it’s best to look at it more like sharing. An office is a place that should inspire teamwork and collaboration, and a big part of teamwork is helping out those who need help. When your workload becomes too much for one person to handle, it must then be shared with someone who has less on their plate. It’s fair, it’s necessary and it’s how a team works.

Don’t overdo it.

Being a strong, focused and hard-working professional will get you very far in both career and in life. But sometimes that attitude doesn’t know when it’s time for a break. In these busy periods of work and life, such people tell themselves to push it harder and get the work done. Again, that’s a good instinct to have in most cases. But sometimes pushing yourself harder isn’t as beneficial as you might think. When your schedule is full, when you’ve been working hard and moving forward, there is a point where you need to let yourself step away for a bit and recalibrate yourself. Overdoing it just leads to being tired, which leads to mistakes which leads to more work. Know your limit and let yourself have the occasional respite.

Make sacrifices.

A work-life balance is important, but there are moments where one most come before the other. When you have these overwhelming work periods, it’s inevitable that they are going to spill over into the personal side of your life every now and then. While it may not be fun and it might seem like you’re owed your own free time, you also need to be able to make those small sacrifices in order to get the work done. We all have to do it, so while it might not seem fair, it is in fact quite normal. Get your schedule under control by skipping a few after-work activities and then have your free time back to yourself.

Don’t neglect important things.

Of course, just because the occasional sacrifice must be made doesn’t mean that you have to forget what is important. In both work and life, you need to make priorities and stick with them. You know what things can be brushed aside for the moment and what needs to be addressed now. This goes for family and your life outside the office just as much as it does for your career.

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6 Tips For Making The Most Of Your Time

I don’t think there’s a person among us who would not like to have more time. No matter how much we have accomplished and how well we feel we’ve used the hours in our day, there is always the feeling that we could have done more. As we grow older, that sense of not having enough time seems to grow and we begin to look at areas in our lives we wish we could spend more time on. Some people retire just so they have more time to spend with family. However, if you learn a few time management techniques, you might find that you have found time in your day you never knew was there before. Here are a few tips for making the most of the time you have.

Have a plan.

As with many such concepts, planning ahead is always a good first step. Making a plan of attack for the day sets you out on the right track of using every moment you have to accomplish those things that are of top priority without wasting your time with things that can wait until later. Ironically, most people don’t do this for their daily routine as they see it as unnecessarily taking up valuable time. You would be surprised, however, at how effective thig can be in having a productive day.

Don’t sit around waiting.

There are usually a few very significant moments in your day, be it meetings, events, conversations and so worth. But the majority of the day is filled with the time in between those moments. If you could identify how much time you spend each day waiting for the next big thing, you’d kick yourself. Use those waiting moments productively. Fill them with whatever you can get done in the smaller moments. Make the most of your mornings instead of just killing time before you have to leave for work. These little adjustments can add hours to your day.

Find family time wherever you can.

One of the most common things that comes up when speaking of not having enough time is family. Professionals feel as though their job is taking them away from the time they could and should be spending time with their family. It is a real conflict but sometimes people just have to look at the time you have in front of you. In the struggle of work and family, work is the immovable object where family can occur anywhere and anytime. Steal those family moments whenever you can and make more opportunities for them to present themselves.

Don’t neglect sleep.

Of course, when some people consider how they can make more time in the day, they think the obvious solution is to make their days longer. They go to bed late and get up early and think they suddenly have hours more time on their hands. In reality, this approach is likely to do more harm than good. People need sleep, especially as we age. Depriving yourself of sleep drains your energy, so although you may be awake more hours in the day, you’ll be less productive than if you just got a good night’s sleep. Even a short nap is advisable as it helps you stay sharp for the rest of the day.

Focus on the work at hand.

Staying focused is a big part of staying productive and using your time wisely. It’s all too easy to become distracted when you’re bouncing around from task to task. That’s why a daily plan is so helpful. It gives you a chance to consider what needs to get done in that particular day, so you know what to focus on and you know what distractions to avoid. If you remain focused on the essential work only, your productivity will be excellent.

Stay healthy.

What is the point of having more time in your day if you’re in poor health? No matter what is going on in our lives, taking care of ourselves and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things you should focus on (if not the most important). And good health leads to more time. Just like with getting a good sleep, if we eat right, exercise regularly and cut out those bad habits, we will be able to accomplish more in a day, as well as have more days in our lives.

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6 Benefits To Volunteering Your Time

Volunteer work is a great, helpful way to spend your free time. There are so many people and organizations out there that could benefit from the help of experienced and dedicated professionals. But even though giving back is the main goal of volunteering, there are plenty of benefits you yourself can reap from such opportunities. So if you’re looking to gain something you can’t find at the office while helping those in need, check out these attractive benefits that come from volunteering.

New skills

It’s not unusual that people want to bring their own proven skills to volunteer positions, and it can be very helpful for the organization to get that kind of professional work. However, that shouldn’t stop you from taking on new skills while you volunteer. If there is a skill you would like to develop in a practical setting, seek out volunteer opportunities that allow for that. There’s no better way to learn a new skill than through experience and volunteer work is a great way to get that experience.

Network

We always talk about the importance of networking in the modern work world, but there are so many forms your networking can take. Some people don’t enjoy those wine and cheese networking events, nor do they find them very helpful. But if you’re looking to be a little more productive while you network, volunteer work allows you to form those professional relationships with people who will get a chance to see you in your element.

Friendships

Of course, all relationships don’t need to be based in work. No matter your age, you can never be too old to form new friendships. However, as you do get older it can be harder and harder to find those situations that allow you to find new friends. Volunteering gives you that workplace atmosphere while removing some of the professional elements that might hinder friendships forming. It’s a great way to get out there and meet new people in a unique setting.

Explore new interests

Volunteering in any capacity is a very kind and selfless thing to do, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t seek out opportunities that best serve your own interests. Instead of seeking out the safe path in your volunteering, don’t be afraid to venture outside your comfort zone. It allows you to explore new areas of interest which could very well help to develop into passions you would otherwise never have found. Yes, volunteering is about helping others, but it doesn’t mean you can find things for yourself at the same time.

New challenges

It’s always important to challenge yourself. As was mentioned above, shying away from those things that are outside your comfort zone won’t lead to growth. Facing new challenges, even ones that scare you is a great way to develop in new skills, learn new things and gain valuable experience. None of this even needs to relate to your career, but could simply be those life experience that you come to cherish.

Stay active.

As you age and strike up more of a balance between work and life, it’s important that you find ways to stay active. Even those boomers who are always on their feet can fall into a funk once they scale back the office hours. Even though you certainly deserve time away from the office, you need to find something that keeps you engaged. Volunteer work allows you to get out, be active and leave the stress of work behind.

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9 Greatest Summer Albums

Well, it’s finally happened. Despite all our worries, summer has finally arrived. In Canada summer is too precious a thing to take for granted and we know how to make the most of our warmer months. So get your celebrations started. Fire up the barbeque, hit the beach and crank some tunes.

Of course, no ordinary music will suit the summer vibe, you need to find the music that fits the laid-back, good-time feeling that makes summer so enjoyable. The perfect summer music combines a relaxed, hang-out feel with some party atmosphere thrown in. And if you can add a little nostalgia to it that reminds you of the summers of your youth, then you found the perfect summer album.

It’s not easy task to find the right summer album but luckily we can help guide you in the direction of some classic gems that will help start your summer off right.

Back in Black (1980)

AC/DC is synonymous with the hard-partying image of rock and roll bands of the 70s and 80s and Back in Black was the album that cemented that image. The album came at a particularly dark period for the band, as their lead vocalist Bon Scott had just passed away and they were attempting to rebuild with new lead singer, Brian Johnson. Despite the melancholy origins, the band was focused on creating an all-killer-no-filler rock and roll album for the ages and they succeeded. Back in Black has gone on to provide a soundtrack to many summer nights’ parties.

Best songs: “Shoot to Thrill”, “Back in Black”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

The Dock of the Bay (1968)

Not all summer music has to have the high-energy pulse of AC/DC. If you’re in more of a mellow, relaxing mood, you could scarcely do better than Otis Redding’s biggest hit. Sadly, this too has a tragic history as Redding recorded it just days before dying in a plane crash. Yet his soulful, easy-going voice can’t help but relax you. The perfect album for a quiet day on the porch.

Best songs: “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”, “The Glory of Love”, “Ole Man Trouble”.

Raising Hell (1986)

While relaxing is all well and fine on some summer days, you do need the occasion dance music to liven up the weekends. Run DMC is just the group to get a party bouncing. The group brought hip-hop music to the mainstream in a big way when most thought it was just a fad. And Raising Hell, their third album, was a triumph of new and exciting music.

Best songs: “It’s Tricky”, “Walk This Way”, “You Be Illin”.

After the Gold Rush (1970)

What says Canadian summer more than Neil Young? Our national folk-singing treasure has plenty of classic albums to play over your summer adventures, but his third studio album was a smooth and gentle collection of some of his greatest hits. Neil has rarely let us down.

Best songs: “After the Gold Rush”, “Southern Man”, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

When we talk about nostalgia through music, it’s quite impossible not to think about The Beatles. For people of all ages, the group’s music is so distinct and influential that you can’t help but stamp it into your memories. This album no doubt is featured in quite a few memories. Rolling Stone called it the greatest album of all time. But as luck would have it, it’s a pretty fine summer album too.

Best songs: “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

Born in the U.S.A (1984)

Springsteen isn’t only one of America’s best musicians, he’s also one of the best storytellers. His songs are often a very real and relatable look into the lives of regular Americans and he’s not afraid to manipulate a good helping of nostalgia. Born in the U.S.A is a collection of some of his greatest stories and ones we’ll be sharing for years to come.

Best songs: “Glory Days”, “Dancing in the Dark”, “Going Down”.

Purple Rain (1984)

When Prince dies earlier this year, someone put the world’s sadness in perspective by acknowledging that out of the thousands of years of human existence, we were lucky enough to be alive when Prince was making music. It certainly was a privilege to hear the work of a true genius. He knew how to get a party started and Purple Rain will always be one of the greatest good-time records ever.

Best songs: “When Doves Cry”, “Purple Rain”, “Let’s Go Crazy”.

Moondance (1970)

Van Morrison is a pretty awesome character. He’s a true showman yet he fits along side all those brilliant singer-songwriters of his time. This album is Morrison at his best; a lyricist with depth, a crooner of epic tunes, and the chill voice for low-key tracks. “And it Stoned Me” remains possibly the most underrated summer song of all time.

Best songs: “And it Stoned Me”, “Caravan”, “Crazy Love”.

Sounds of Summer (2003)

Of course the Beach Boys were going to make the list. Were you ever truly doubting it? You made see this as a bit of a cheat since it is a ‘best of’ album, but it’s impossible not to listen to these hits and not thing of the summer. There’s all the surfin’ classics that gave the Beach Boys their name as well as the more mature and brilliant songs that made them icons.

Best songs: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “I Get Around”, “Don’t Worry Baby”.

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