Be Ready For Change

The definitions of the financial classes are changing.  More companies are changing the definitions of their jobs as well.  With outsourcing and freelancing becoming a more viable resource, the job market and the jobs available are shifting accordingly.  This means even more upheaval for people who are unprepared for a quick change in their financial environment.

The days of long tenures with powerful companies are all but gone. The time of getting a single job and working it until you retired or died is nearly at an end.  The market for jobs, an ever evolving and changing entity, has eliminated some jobs and created new ones.  This is wonderful news to the people who can evolve with the change and are ever increasing their knowledge base and their skills.  For those who are not so flexible, this could be a painful and depressing transition.

When the automobile became a household item, companies that manufactured traditional horse drawn carriages became obsolete.  All the people who had made whips, carriages, harnesses and fittings for that industry had to find other work eventually.  This is just an example of what happens continually in our marketplace.

One of the biggest changes in the last twenty years has been the increasing flow of outsourcing work. There is room for outsourcing in nearly every industry and for people who “get replaced” by cheaper contractors, it can mean devastating financial consequences.  No matter the job you hold, you need to be prepared for the next advancement in the markets.  Computers, networking, the internet and other technologies have caused the erasure of dozens of markets – but they have also created jobs in their wake.  Just like the carriage builder who left the carriage house and went to work for Ford, people today have to move with the existing tide.

One way of preparing for this shift is to hone your skills. Freelance markets are all over the Internet for people who have been laid off or their jobs have been eliminated.  If you have a marketable skill, considering a freelance career may be a good backup plan for you.  Learning a new skill or trade while you are still working your current job is never a bad idea either.  With a few exceptions such as the medical field, there is virtually no job that is one hundred percent guaranteed to never be outsourced.  Even a great many jobs in the medical field are being outsourced to talented and cheaper sources overseas.

Protect your investments and your future by investing in your education and your skills. Learning a new trade or revising your current one may be a bit of a task, but in this market, you are virtually forced to continually upgrade yourself.  If you have already felt the ax fall in your market, do not be discouraged.  A great deal of companies that are taking advantage of the freelance market will search out American freelancers to do their work.  Consulting is another field that will almost always be a viable option for those who wish to change venues.

Be ready for change, and you can soar into the next market shift!

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Personal Finance: Establishing the New Year’s Goals

With the New Year upon us, there are many things individuals and families need to take into consideration outside of the resolutions you may make to lose weight or to spend more time together. Everyone can utilize this time of the year to look back at their financial goals and look forward with new ones. Each person is unique: some want to save more; others want to pay down debt. There may be an important big purchase coming up this year. On the other hand, you may want to think about retirement a bit closer. The New Year brings opportunity. What will you do with it?

Minimize The Crush Of Debt

Beyond anything else, individuals need to focus on their debt. Not only does it physically tax the body through stress, but it is holding you back from living a debt free lifestyle. Consider the following goals to help you reduce your debt:

  1. Spend less overall. Find one way that you can spend 10 percent less of your budget.
  2. Avoid credit cards. Try to use a cash only system when purchasing anything. It will teach you how to be a better saver, too. Make the drastic decision to cut up credit cards if you cannot control spending otherwise.
  3. Pay an extra 25 percent on your monthly payments. Perhaps you are not sure you can do this. Use the funds you cut out of your budget to make it happen.
  4. Contact each of your lenders and request a rate reduction. They may say no, but they may say yes and a yes can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
  5. Commit to no new credit cards, loans, pay day loans or other debts in the coming year. This commitment to yourself could change your financial future.

Which of these (or all of them) can you tackle in the New Year?

Save More

The second most common goal people have when planning goals for the new year is save more money. Of course, this is a great idea. The problem is, many people do not actually put in place strategies to make it happen. Just saying you will save more money will not help you. Consider the following goals. Which can help you to get more money in the bank?

  1. Take the time to invest in yourself first. If you do not have a 401K or an IRA, or other retirement savings account, find out if your employer offers one. This money comes directly out of your paycheck, has tax advantages and it is not something you need to think about. Did you know you could withdraw from most accounts, without penalty for big expenses such as medical care and down payments on homes?
  2. Focus on the shopping cart. As you walk through the grocery store or department store, keep a calculator in hand. Each item that goes needs tallied as you go. Why bother with this? You are more conscious of how much you are spending. When you see the bill approaching your budget limit, take items out as you need to.
  3. Save more at home. Read up on how to be environmentally friendly and energy use conscious. Find ways to cut costs at home. Is your water heater set too high? Are you using too much electricity during the day? Will a programmable thermostat cut your bill?

Although this is the time of year to be thinking about tomorrow, make sure you put your New Years plan in place today. Write it down. Give yourself specific goals to reach per week or month. As you go along, you will find yourself spending less, paying down debt, and putting more money away so you can achieve your long-term goals.

Categories Personal Finance, Saving Money3 Comments

The right to say No – Assertiveness in Business

Having a constant flow of interesting work was important to Malcolm.  He was always on the lookout for a new project that looked sexy and would reflect well on him.  Malcolm’s problem was the enormous workload that he ended up with.  He often missed deadlines because he was trying to do too much and found it really difficult to say “No”.

Although Malcolm’s problem was mainly self-made, a great many people in commerce and industry are over-stretched because others impose additional tasks on them, assuming that, if they are not saying “No”, they must be saying “Yes”. However, for so many people, saying “No” has negative implications and is not something they want to do for fear of being seen as uncooperative.

Yes, assertiveness is a skill that is still pretty rare, mainly because it is often mistaken for aggression.  To be clear aggression is the use of verbal, emotional or physical force in an unfriendly way to manipulate another person to comply with your requests.  The effect being that the other person feels that their rights have been violated.  Assertiveness, on the other hand, is the understanding and defense of your own rights.  Assertiveness is designed to protect your rights as an adult individual.

Examples of individual rights include:

1. I have the right to make mistakes and to take responsibility for them.

2. I have the right to change my mind.

3. I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for solving problems of others.

4. I have the right to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” or “I don’t care”

These examples are all illustrations of a healthy adult-adult relationship with yourself not to mention an adult-adult relationship with others. Many non-assertive situations are caused by one person taking on a child-like role, acting as the victim.  This has the effect of pushing the other person in the relationship into a parent-like role where it is easy to be controlling, judgmental and critical. An aggression-compliance relationship is difficult to avoid leaving both parties feeling unhappy about the outcome.  Yes, it’s true; not only does the compliant person feel their rights have been violated but the aggressive person will feel they have, in some way, been manipulated.  “You were asking for it!”, “I had no alternative!” or “You made me do it!” are all common excuses used by aggressive people.

Malcolm had not given himself the right to say “I’ve changed my mind”, “I made a mistake” and “I need some help”.  He often felt trapped in a device of his own making and his child-like vanity was driving him to be involved in more attractive projects in order that he would look good.  Unfortunately the worker in Malcolm was not as productive as the salesman in Malcolm made him look.  In effect he was violating his own rights, manipulating himself in a way that is encouraged in today’s cut-throat business world.  Malcolm needs to look after his own rights because no-one else will.

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Instant Dinner Party: How to Entertain when You Don’t Have the Time

Entertaining on a Time Budget

In our society of power breakfasts, endless meetings and overfilled schedules, it seems as if no one has the time to entertain guests except for special occasions.  Don’t let the fact that you’re on a limited time budget keep you from enjoying the company of your friends and family.   With minimal planning and preparation, you can host a dinner party on a day’s notice.  Use these tips to plan a get together that will give you and your guests a welcome respite from the rat race we face everyday.

Planning – Keep it Simple
Planning your meal shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.  Get a piece of paper and write down these 3 things:

  1. Number of Guests – Include all possible guests, including significant others.  It’s always better to have too much than too little.
  2. Time Frame – You’ll want to decide what time the guests should arrive and what time dinner will be served so that you’ll know exactly how much time you have to devote to preparation.
  3. Menu – Arguably the most difficult aspect of any dinner party, remember to keep it simple.  Stick with dishes you are familiar with and that can be prepared quickly.  If you’re stuck on this step, some menu options will be provided later in this article.

Once you have this information, you can do an inventory of your kitchen and decide what you need to purchase.  Create a shopping list being sure to include any decorations and beverages along with the food you need to buy.   Organize the list so that you can move quickly through the store.  You should be able to locate everything you need at any major grocery store.

Invitations – No Need to Be Formal
If your guest list is small,  you can call each guest to issue a personal invitation.  If you’re planning on a larger group, or if you just don’t have the time, email comes in very handy.  There are several invitation based websites that can be used to great advantage when planning a dinner party.  Just fill in a few fields and you’re a click away from reaching all your guests.

Decorations – Nothing Fancy
Sticking with the theme of keeping it simple, decorations needn’t be too elaborate.  Simple candles and fresh flowers are always a great way to go.  Fresh flowers like Astromeria can be purchased very cheaply at most grocery stores.  While not necessary, having a linen tablecloth is always a nice touch and doesn’t require more than minimal ironing.

The Meal – Options and Suggestions
If you don’t know what to prepare for your meal, here are some suggestions for elegant and easy to prepare recipes that will impress your guests.

Beverages – The easiest way to handle beverages is to set up a bar/beverage area where guests can prepare their own drinks.  That way if you are putting the finishing touches on the meal, you won’t be interrupted every time a new guest arrives, you can just direct them to the bar.  Be sure to include ice and glasses with your choice of beverages in the set-up.

Appetizers– Nothing could be easier than providing appetizers like selected cheeses with crackers or a vegetable tray with dip.  If you have the time to cut your own vegetables, you can save money, but precut vegetable trays will save you time.  Pre-made spinach or artichoke dip served with a hearty bread is also a good, quick appetizer.

Salad– Pre-prepared salads come in very handy if you’re on a time budget and can be augmented with fresh vegetables of your choosing if you have the time.  To add a dash of class and yum factor, add French fried onions and cheese (feta is usually a good choice) to your salad.

Sides – The simplest and quickest side options is the basic baked potato.  To create a restaurant quality baked potato, wet the skin of the potato and dip it in sea salt.  Then wrap each potato in paper towel before microwaving it.   After cooking, firmly roll the potato before removing the towel to pull the potato away from the skin. Cut each potato once down the center and it’s ready to serve.  Rice and flavored rice packages are also make quick and delicious sides.

Soup – Many restaurants and restaurant supply companies offer delicious frozen soups that can be quickly heated up for a delicious soup course.

Entrees– There are many recipes available for meat, poultry, seafood and pasta dishes with quick preparation times.  A search of the many available recipe sites on the internet can provide you with a recipe that fits your taste.  Here is one such simple and elegant choice:

London Broil w/Garlic Au Jus

Hands-on preparation time: 20 minutes
Actual time to prepare – 2 hours

Ingredients:
1.5lbs of 1 ½” – 2” thick London broil (top round)
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 can beef broth
1 cube beef bouillon
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup butter
¼ cup water

1)     In a small saucepan, boil the beef broth, bouillon and brown sugar for 15 minutes to reduce it.
2)     Remove the broth mixture from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes
3)     Create a marinade by adding the garlic (pressed or diced), lemon juice, and olive oil to the broth mixture
4)     Marinate the London broil for 1 hour at room temperature
5)     Retaining the marinade, broil the meat on a roasting rack for 8 minutes on each side
6)     Remove the meat from the oven and allow to sit for 8 minutes
7)     Meanwhile return the marinade to the saucepan, add water and butter and bring to a boil
8)     Carve the London Broil into thin slices on a slight angle, cover with Au Jus and serve on a platter with the remaining Au Jus on the side.

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Choosing the Right Bike for You

For the casual, recreational bicyclist, choosing the right bike can be confusing and even frustrating.  You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, but you do want to make sure you get a bike of sufficient quality and comfort that you can ride it with pleasure for more than just a year or two.  You are somewhere in between the consumer who goes into a discount store and buys the glitziest bicycle available for the wad of bills in his wallet and the bicyclist who strolls into the best bike shop in town, hails all the employees by name, spends the whole rest of the day talking components and races and leaves the store at closing, starry-eyed but empty-handed.   Here are some helpful pointers to help you choose the right bike for your body and your purposes.

Before you even go near a bike shop, do some thinking. The most obvious choice you have to make in buying a new bike is deciding what kind of bike you want.  Road bike or mountain bike may seem the question, but it’s really a little bigger a question than that. Depending on your age, health, and intended usage, you may want to consider cruiser bikes, recumbent bikes, and the increasingly popular bikes known as hybrid or commuter bikes.

You want a road bike if you are involved in road racing, certainly. If your love is riding on trails, you will definitely want a mountain bike.  If your primary love on the trails is downhill racing, you will want a specialized mountain bike.  If you have physical limitations, find bicycling painful, or just have money to burn and a yearning for something different, you should check out recumbents.  If you just use a bike for pedalling around a basically flat town a few miles a day, perhaps you’d enjoy the fun of a single speed, fat tired cruiser bike.  And very many of you will be attracted with good reason to the hybrid or commuter bicycles that give you some of the advantages of all these kinds of bikes.

These hybrid bikes give you the wide range of gears riders learned to love with the advent of mountain bikes in the eighties, combined with the lightness and grace of the road bike. They are usually ridden upright, like the cruiser bikes, but don’t carry the weight or the bulk of the shock absorbing features of mountain bikes.  Their tires are somewhere between the skinny, lightly spoked wheels of a road racer’s model and the heavy knobbies of a genuine mountain bike.  These bikes are light enough to be fast on roads and stable enough to ride off-road on gravel or good trails.  They have a sufficient range of gears to get you up steep hills without walking and respond quickly enough to meet the demands of riding in urban traffic.

Once you know the kind of bike you seek, go into a few bike shops and talk to a knowledgeable bike seller. Amateur and casual riders often make the mistake of thinking the only size consideration on a bike is the rider’s height, but no good bike shop employee will let you out of the shop without paying attention to the unique aspects of your height.  A 5’6″ rider with long arms and a short torso will need a much different bike frame symmetry than a 5’6″ rider with short arms and long legs!  The length of the top bar on the bike, the adjustability of the seat post, the height of the stem that supports the handlebars, all these factors and more matter enormously to the fit of a bicycle and consequently to the pleasure or the pain you’ll find in riding it.  Manufacturers have varying frame geometries and models have their own variations.

You cannot really buy a bike intelligently at a discount store without knowledgeable employees or policies that allow you to test ride a bike before purchase. The only way to buy intelligently from a big discount store is to identify the right bike elsewhere and then purchase the same bike from the discounter.  Whether this is really fair to the bike shop that gave you the real service is something you have to decide for yourself.  You should never buy a bike without test riding it, and if you’re buying it as a present, without making sure the recipient has the right to return it if it doesn’t suit their riding needs.

Once you have done all this, you get to consider what is really the plum of your decision making process in choosing the right bike: the way the bike looks.  Bicycles are beautiful machines.  You should love not only the way you feel on it, but the way it looks as you fly down the hill on it, a blur of shiny colors and silvers and speed.

Categories Lifestyle & Culture1 Comment

Can you ever be prepared for child abduction?

The message that 9 year-old Carol brought home from school was depressingly predictable.  Two younger girls had narrowly escaped abduction the day before, so could parents please take extra precautions getting children to school and bringing them home.

Although every successful abduction is one abduction too many, there are some very large numbers published that probably need to be clarified a little. There is statistical information from the UK  that shows around one tenth of all reported abductions were successful and that a quarter are what they call parental abductions which could be classified more as custody cases than kidnapping.  Although every parental abduction is a painful event for the family involved, it shouldn’t add to stranger danger in the community.

Discounting other types of abduction where there is an established relationship between the victim and the offender leaves around half of all reported abductions that can be classified as sexually motivated child abductions.  The target victim is, on average, 10 years old, male or female with fair skin.  That specification is a pretty close match for Carol and also Chris, who is two years older than his sister but equally blond and blue-eyed.

So, for what seems the tenth time this year we sit them down for a refresher discussion about strangers, reminding them to trust their instincts.  “If something feels wrong inside, it probably is wrong.”

We confirm that it’s OK to say “No” to an adult, to find a grown-up they know and trust and to tell all.

We encourage Chris to use his Taekwondo training and to kick out if he feels he is in danger and tell Carol to kick, bite and generally make a noise if she feels someone is trying to get her to do something she does not want to.

Finally we remind them that we do not have secrets in our family and if anyone tries to convince them otherwise, they are wrong.

The note from school has also reminded me to update the information cards I carry with me at all times.  Basically, for each child I have an up-to-date photograph in my wallet with the following details printed on the back:

  • Name and nicknames
  • Eye, hair and skin color
  • Height and weight
  • Identifying features (birthmarks, scars, physical characteristics)

Most abducted children are recovered or killed in the first 3 hours, so the first 15 to 30 minutes after a successful abduction are critical. If you can hand the police a photograph with all of this data immediately, they have clear information on which to make an identification.  Such clarity can be vital as parents of abductees are also very stressed at this time and are likely to be vague and disorientated, themselves.

It would be so easy to carry on believing that it will never happen to us but with the odds being about 1 in 7,000 there is more chance that my child will be abducted than me winning the national Lottery.

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Persuasiveness and Negotiation

Persuasion is a pretty basic human skill.  Small children learn how to use persuasive techniques to achieve all sorts of benefits.  They understand that parents need them to be pleasant, polite and friendly and for the small price of money, sweets or a toy they can benefit from a quiet life.  Admittedly a lot of childhood persuasion verges on blackmail “Give me a sweet or I’ll have a tantrum” but the basic building blocks are there.

Persuasive techniques in business may be a little more sophisticated but they center on the same structure:

  • what needs does the target have
  • what features does our offering contain
  • what is the overall benefit to the target

Whether you are considering the design of a web page, a mailing campaign or press advertising, the same rules apply; convince your target audience that you have listened to them and understood fully their needs.  Design your offering to ensure that it has features that satisfy their needs and have a list of these features available but most of all be clear about the overall benefit that your target audience will feel when they use your service or product.

In his advertising, Mac Davenport, an Illinois lithographic printer focuses the headline and the large print on “We deliver full color quality…fast”.  His full design to delivery service that takes the strain from the customer is detailed in the small print to demonstrate that his business provides features that meet the client’s every need from a printing facility.

Negotiation in the business world has become a science and an art form. Everything from how you prepare to what you wear has an influence on whether you will be more or less persuasive than your opposite number.  You should expect that he or she will be well prepared and ruthless in his/her intention to get the best deal for her/his company.

Your preparation for a negotiation should include:

  • Identify your goal – the real reason for the negotiation
    • Knowing the facts and having proof available
    • Agreeing (with your colleagues) your position and how much flexibility you are willing to demonstrate
    • Know which elements can be traded – e.g. faster delivery for higher cost, more features for a longer timescale, lower cost for fewer features.
    • Preparing outline contracts or agreement documents for signature

If possible, never negotiate when you are tired, always have a full stomach and an empty bladder and be comfortable.  Start and finish the meeting with a handshake and an honest, friendly smile.  Negotiations are seldom personal, they are a set-piece battle of the brains and you’ll always perform better if you keep that in mind.  If you like or dislike your opponent, you should put those feelings aside for the duration of the negotiation as they can adversely affect your performance in the “bullring”.

Auto salesman, Jake Robertson always puts on his negotiating hat to “get into” the correct frame of mind; it helps him to be resolute.

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Dealing with Conflict Resolution at Work

Everyone deals with conflict.  We learn that not everyone agrees about everything.  But when workplace disagreements occur, situations can get out of hand, causing bitterness, resentment, loss of reputation, poor morale, costly litigation, and even job termination.  Smart companies have good conflict resolution procedures in place from the start, allowing management to address problems before they escalate and become out of control.

No one likes to experience problems with others while on the job, but such occurrences seem to be a natural part of life.  As a matter of fact, there are those that thrive on making trouble in the workplace.  Most companies recognize that conflict costs both dollars and human capital and recognize the need to address problems as soon as possible.

In-House or Independent Mediator?

Different companies solve conflict in different ways.  Some businesses have a facilitator among their management staff that assumes the role of conflict mediator.  There are good and bad issues involved with using an in-house facilitator.  While it may be to the company’s advantage that this person is familiar with all parties involved, that fact may also put one or more of the persons involved at a disadvantage.

While everyone involved in solving the conflict tries to be unbiased, in-house mediators often have pre-conceived notions about one or more of the parties.  Often, hiring an independent mediator is the answer.  This mediator is armed with the tools to bring about a quick and final settlement and addresses the problem from a non-partisan viewpoint.

The Conflict Mediation Process

Time is of the essence when solving a workplace conflict.  As soon as possible, a meeting should be scheduled with all parties. The mediator should introduce everyone involved and begin by stating his understanding of the problem.

Each party should then be asked to state their individual understanding of the problem, rather like an opening statement in a court case.  This not only allows the mediator to view each party’s take on the conflict but also lets him/her to assess the emotional state of the participants.

The process usually continues with the mediator asking questions of each party, either in the group setting or in a personal interview. This helps the mediator build rapport and eventually allows him to begin to gain the confidence of those involved in the conflict.

When everyone has a clear understanding of the problem at hand, all parties will begin to look at equitable solutions.  The mediator may suggest proposals from which to begin working, and those involved can take turns modifying them until a universal agreement is achieved.  This may not be a quick process but it’s more important that the solution be reached after much thought to the best interests of all parties rather than in haste.

The Importance of Quick Resolution

There’s nothing worse for employee morale than a tense situation at work.  Even those not directly involved in the conflict may be sucked into the distress of the situation.  That can be a dangerous scenario, resulting in employee turnover, terminations, poor production, or work stoppage.  In the long run, all of this affects a company’s bottom line.

Companies should have a conflict resolution plan in place as part of their workplace policies and be sure not to wait until the first conflict arises to decide how it will be handled and who will handle it.

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Stress Management

Paul Bishop just felt plain tired.  He’d had a tough year in his job and he was really finding it difficult to keep motivated.  To cap it all he had started to make stupid mistakes at work, forgetting to check things and he always seemed to be rushing to meet deadlines.  His job satisfaction had disappeared; work had become a real burden and the constant changes in management structure left him feeling paranoid about being edged out of the company.

The symptoms that Paul was feeling are pretty well understood these days. Continual change is a feature of modern business and, although this can stimulate more interest and better productivity in some employees, it can have the opposite effect others, like Paul, making them highly stressed.

What may start as minor stress can escalate into medical problems; digestive disorders, allergies, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.  Mental disorders such as depression, phobias obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and paranoia can also result from a stressful lifestyle.

Now, more than ever, it is essential to adopt sensible stress avoidance and stress management strategies. In the UK alone it is estimated that 245,000 people became aware of symptoms of work related stress in a 12 month period resulting in 12.8 million lost working days.

There is a fine balance to be drawn, however, as we also rely on the stress from competition, deadlines, negotiations, frustrations and sorrows to add texture to our lives. Each person has an individual and sometimes very different threshold beyond which stress begins to have a negative effect on their well-being.

There are some findings that disease and illness are closely allied with unrelieved stress.  Just being aware of stress is not sufficient to eradicate it, more work is necessary to identify the causes and either change the environment in which stress occurs or change our response to the stressful environment.

A useful model to consider is one where you can divide the stimuli in your environment into three categories.

Category 1 – Things I can change

Category 2 – Things I can’t change but I can influence

Category 3 – The weather

Categories 1 and 2 are pretty self-explanatory.  For example you can decide to change your job or perhaps your boss needs to requisition a new computer for you.

The weather accounts for everything else outside Categories 1 and 2.  It’s called the weather because just like when it rains, you can’t do much about it other than work around it.   It doesn’t matter how much you worry about rain it won’t stop just for you.

When Paul used the three categories he realized that he needed to ask for help to give him more time to check his work and also to question deadlines he was given rather than accept them as gospel.  The organizational changes that were happening around him were just the weather and if he navigated himself through the weather successfully, he would avoid being surplus to requirements.

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Coping with Jet Lag

What is Jet Lag? Crossing time zones disrupts the body clock which regulates sleep, wakefulness and our productivity in general; this leads to irritability, fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration, loss of appetite, and other discomforts.

Can Jet Lag be prevented? A number of strategies have been developed to prevent jet lag but the general consensus is like motion sickness, there are certain people who are more predisposed to jet lag than others.  Jet lag, like colds, cannot really be prevented but measures can be adapted to minimize the length of its effects.

The Rx Way

  • No-Jet-Lag, as its literature claims, is “a safe and effective remedy for countering jet lag, in the form of easy-to-take tablets. Its effectiveness has been proven in a scientific trial of round-the-world passengers and confirmed by long haul flight attendants in a test conducted in cooperation with their union.” It also claims to be compatible with all kinds of medication and to have no side-effects. Always consult your doctor before trying out any new medication, even if it is an over the counter drug.
  • Melatonin manipulates a certain hormone in your body; it is administered days before you travel. However, research has shown if it is taken within too early or too late before the date of travel, it makes  jet lag worse.

The Anti-Jet Lag Diet Way. The Anti-Jet-Lag Diet was developed by Dr. Charles F. Ehret of Argonne National Laboratories; he prescribes alternates days of feasting and fasting starting four days before your date of departure:

  • Feasting includes high-protein breakfasts and lunches, high-carbohydrate dinners;
  • Fasting includes days of small, low-calorie meals.

The Cliché Way

  • Exercise regularly to build stamina;
  • Eat healthy foods, like green leafy vegetables and fruits;
  • Chew gum to alleviate pressure build-up in your ears;
  • A good night’s sleep; with naps during long flights;
  • Avoid unnecessary stress; pay your bills, finish your work and do not get hung over before you travel;
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the flight, but avoid alcoholic beverages and too much caffeine;
  • Take advantage of airline sleeping aids such as blindfolds, ear plugs and neck pillows to catch a power nap;
  • If it is possible to stand during the flight, stand up, stretch and walk a little;
  • Wear comfortable clothes;
  • Shower before you leave to refresh your senses;
  • Set your watch to the time of your destination before you board the plane;
  • Eat meals at times that are as close as possible to the meal times of your destination;
  • Bring an interesting book or magazine;
  • If the person sitting next to you seems friendly, engage in small talk and make a new friend;
  • East vs. West. Some people believe that flying east or westward causes jet lag; scientists argue that such claims are more a question of personal preference and do not have any scientific basis;
  • Night vs. day flights. Another question of personal preference; and finally,
  • Have fun!
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