Building Blocks For Time Management

Whenever I hold an Assessment with a new client on organizing their home or business, I’m also evaluating their time management skills. Time management is the “foundation” to getting organized, and staying organized. Let’s envision time management as four building blocks.

Building Block #1: The Landing Pad. Whether you have a nice U-shaped desk at the office or a small nook in the kitchen, it serves the same purpose. This area is where you have your computer, your telephone/answering machine, calendar, personal address book, checkbook, files, shredder and trash can for sorting junkmail. For your Landing Pad to be effective, you need to maximize your space (especially if it’s a small nook) and keep it free from clutter.

Building Block #2: Your Scheduling Calendar. Paper or electronic? I used a week-at-a-glance Day Timer for many years, and never thought I’d use a PDA. I’m a visual person and felt that keeping track of my appointments via a 2×2-inch screen on a PDA would never work. Well, two years ago I did convert to a PDA, and it’s the best thing I ever did. Let me explain. All PDA’s come with scheduling software that you download onto your computer, and you then sync your information to your PDA. You carry your PDA with you (instead of a bulky calendar), and it will beep reminders to you for your appointments (you can also schedule recurring appointments–I love this function). Anyway, you determine when you want to be ‘reminded’: You can set it for 15 minutes in advance of your appointment, an hour, four hours, a day, five days, etc. This is a valuable tool to ensure you’re not late (and you don’t have to rely on your memory!). Most PDA’s feature a ‘graffiti’ function (with reminder features) and, if not, you can download a similar feature from the internet for a small fee. Let’s say I’ve just finished having my stylist cut my hair. Before I leave, I want to schedule my next appointment. I check my calendar (using my PDA), then use the graffiti function to actually scribble my next appointment information (using the PDA’s stylus). I set the reminder feature to beep an alarm to me at a time when I know I’ll be back at my Landing Pad. Once back at my Landing Pad, my PDA will beep a reminder, I check it and, oh yeah, I need to enter that hair appointment into my computer scheduling software. I do so, then I delete the graffiti entry. Now, you don’t have to do it this way. You can stand there at your hairstylists and manually enter the future appointment into the PDA (which would later be uploaded to your computer’s scheduling software), but that will take you several minutes. That’s not practicing good time management skills. You have the alarm capability–use it.

Now, let’s talk about the scheduling software. You don’t have to use the software that comes with your PDA. You can use Microsoft Outlook, MSN’s free Hotmail, and others. You just need to ensure that it’s compatible to sync with your PDA.

You also have a feature to view your Contacts (aka, your personal and business address book). We’ve all had the typical phone and address book, with crossed out entries because someone either got a new phone number, or they moved, got married, divorced, etc. Enter your Contact information on your computer and download it to your PDA (you can even assign categories). When you’re out and about and need to call someone, all you have to do is look them up on your PDA. Everything is at your fingertips. And, again, you can also use Microsoft Outlook, MSN’s free Hotmail, and others. They all have a Contacts feature.

Now, here’s the final reason why a PDA is a smart investment. If you lose it, you haven’t lost any information because it’s all on your computer! If you carry a paper appointment book and lose it (like we’ve all experienced), well, how shall I describe what you’ll be feeling. Frantic . . . devastated . . . kicking yourself. It would take you weeks or months to recreate everything you’ve lost. Definitely not good time management skills.

Building Block #3: Follow-Up System. When I was a secretary, we called this a ‘tickler system’. You can create your own by having hanging folders labeled 1-31 and January – December. The 1-31 stands for the days of the current month you’re in. Let’s say you have a meeting scheduled with XYZ Company on April 10th. Instead of keeping their file laying in your work area in preparation for the meeting, you can store it in the ’10′ hanging file. This way you’ll always know where it is; however, you need to remember to check your tickler file daily (if you’re using scheduling software, you can schedule a recurring reminder for every morning at 8:00 a.m. to check your tickler before you start your day). So, the morning of April 10th arrives, and you pull everything you’ve got filed under ’10′. Now let’s say you have a different meeting set for May 10th. Do not place the information for that meeting under ’10′ right now. Remember, at the moment, your 1-31 stands for the days of the current month (in this instance, April). Your information for the May 10th meeting will be stored temporarily in the ‘May’ hanging folder. Do you see now how this works? So let’s assume that today is May 1st. The 1-31 slots no longer represent April–they now represent May. So, on May 1st, you pull everything that you set aside in the ‘May’ folder. Look through all of it and sort it in accordance to the date that’s applicable, and refile them under that date. Perhaps you have a bill that’s due May 21st, and you want to mail it on May 18th. It goes under the ’18′ hanging file. Now take note–whether it’s a bill or a greeting card, I recommend paper clipping it to the hanging file so that the top is sticking out. Otherwise, it falls to the bottom of the hanging file into what I call the “never find-again land”. So here’s where the electronic scheduling software comes in handy–schedule a recurring reminder for the first of every month to check your monthly tickler.

I hope you see how efficient using both the electronic scheduling software and tickler can be. And, you can keep your tickler in sight on your desktop, or out of sight in a file drawer. But . . . it’s only effective if you check it daily.

Building Block #4: 15-Minute Organizing. You’re free time is sparse, and it’s difficult to set aside three hours to organize your kitchen, for example. Instead of seeing the “big picture” (your cluttered kitchen as a whole) and becoming overwhelmed, set aside 15-minutes once or twice a day to tackle the clutter. Here’s how it works: Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to tackle one section of your messy kitchen counter. Set a timer for 15 minutes and ensure there are no interruptions–this is your time. Sort through the mess. The items you’re keeping, put them away. Set aside an area for donation items, and toss what’s left. When your timer sounds, stop what you’re doing, and now your time is once again available for family, work, returning phone calls, etc. The point is, you truly will begin to see progress. You can accomplish a lot in 15 minutes if you make it a priority. If you do this once or twice a day, within a few days, you’ll see the results and that, in turn, will motivate you to continue to make this a priority. So, instead of seeing the “big picture” we’re taking “bite-sized chunks”. I tell my clients: “Inch by inch is a cinch–yard by yard is too hard.”

Green Architecture – The Future of Real Estate

As we continue to find ourselves in a situation where natural resources are getting depleted at rapid rates, it becomes imperative that we consider as many options to bring ourselves closer to the environment, and to the use of eco-friendly, non-depleting resources as possible.

Take the case of fossil fuels; they are both depleting as well as non-eco-friendly, with harmful emissions being a resultant of their consumption. In such a scenario, the use of solar energy as well as wind energy can be excellent alternatives.

While the usage of alternative energy sources like the aforementioned is being explored in diverse situations, real estate is one such area where the same can actually be used effectively. In addition to the obvious benefits to the environment, long term cost savings are also multifarious. In this article, we look at some of the ways in which you could incorporate green architecture initiatives into your construction.

Usage of LEDs and CFL Lamps

LEDs and CFL lamps are an excellent way of conserving energy; their intuitive, inherent technology allows significantly reduced electricity consumption for their usage. This not only results in more efficient usage of electrical resources, it also paves the way for major energy savings. Therefore, make sure you consider the option of using light emitting devices like the aforementioned, for your construction.

Usage of Solar Panels

Solar energy is one major energy source that is not going away anywhere, anytime soon (or so it seems!). Thus maximizing the usage of solar energy in real estate constructions makes ample sense. The relatively high initial costs of solar panels is what keeps a majority of realtors away from considering the usage of solar panels as indeed the overall implementation of solar energy in buildings. Yet, one should look at the long term implications that such an initiative would have, particularly the huge cost savings.

Waste Management

Waste management is one area where green initiatives can be applied effectively. Segregation of waste at the initial stage can save a lot of effort later, for waste disposal entities. Additionally, when applied effectively, you can actually recycle a lot of the waste that you generate, yourself, and use it for your own purpose. Already, numerous home owners across the country are using the biodegradable waste that they generate, as fertilizer for their own gardens.

Thus, as you can clearly see, the green initiatives that can be taken in real estate are numerous. Ultimately, common sense coupled with a drive from within to implement such initiatives and make a difference to the environment would be the key factors in ensuring that these steps see the light of day.

Best Small Business Tips and Ideas

Deciding to start a business can be one of the most exhilarating decisions you make in your life. We are living in a world wherever everyone wants to make extra money and add to his income. Most people have achieved this by acquiring great business ideas. When one starts up a company, he must be ready to meet competition. It is important to note that you would not need to become rich or popular to succeed in business but have to think smartly. But there are a lot of moving parts and many different elements to consider.

10 basic tips essential to start a business successfully.

Tip 1: Get inspired and Love your idea

Every business begins with an idea you may have imagined of opening your own business for years, or motivation may have hit you suddenly. Nevertheless of the source, the first step of starting your own business is coming up with a business idea. And as important as your idea, you must in love with the idea.

Tip 2: Do Your Research / learn everything about the business

You’ve recognized your big idea, now it’s time to balance it with the reality. Are you truly ready to start a business? Answer the questions below and see what you need to prepare yourself for business. For a small business succeed it must fulfill a need, solve a problem or offer something the market wants.

You can identify this need in many ways by doing research, focus groups, and even trial and error.

As you search the market, some of the questions can be:

• Is there a need for your anticipated services or products?
• Who needs it? (Target Costumers)
• Are there other companies offering similar services or products right now?
• How is the competition?
• Can or how will your business fit into the market?

Tip 3: Make a Business Plan

You need a business plan in order to make your business idea a reality. If you expect to seek monetary support from an investor or financial organization, a formal written business plan is a must.

Even if you don’t need monetary support, a simple business plan can give you precision about what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to do it.

In overall, your business plan should summary your business goals and the inspiration behind them, as well as your plan for realization of your goals in terms of marketing and funding.

Tip 4: Planning Finances

Opening a small business doesn’t have to involve a lot of money, but it will involve some investment.

There are a number of methods you can fund your small business:

• With Small business grants
• By Financing
• With Small business loans
• Or Angel investors

You can also attempt to get your business off the ground by bootstrapping, using as little capital as necessary to start your business.

Tip 5: Business Structure

Your small business can be an individual ownership, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. The business structure you might choose will impact in many factors from your business name, to liability, and how you file your taxes.

You can choose an initial business structure, and with time re-evaluate and change your structure as your business grows and needs to be changed.

Tip 6: The Business Name

The name you choose plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one. Make sure you think through all of the possible consequences as you explore your options and select your business name.

Once you have selected a name, there is the need to check if it’s trademarked, currently in use and if stills free you will need to register it. A individual proprietor must register their business name with either their state or county clerk. Corporations, LLC, or limited corporations usually register their business name when the creation paperwork is filed.

These days you need to have a website, so please don’t forget to register your domain name once you have selected your business name. The best domains and more valuable online are the ones ending with .com.

Tip 7: Licenses and Permits

There are a range of small business licenses and permits that may apply to your situation, depending on the type of business you are starting and where you are placed. You will need to inquiry what licenses and permits apply to your business during the initial process.

Tip 8: The Business Location

Setting up your place to work is essential for the operation of your business, whether you will have a home office, a shared or private office space, or a retail location. You will need to reflect about your place, equipment, and overall setup, and make sure your business place works for the kind of business you will be doing.

Tip 9: Accounting System

One of the most essential systems for a small business is an accounting system. Your accounting system is essential in order to build and manage your budget, set your charges, conduct business with others, and file your taxes. You can set up your accounting system by your own, or hire an accountant to take away some of the work.

Tip 10: Promote Your Small Business

As soon your business is up and running, you need to start attracting customers. You’ll want to initiate with the essentials by writing a single selling offer and building a marketing plan. Explore as many small business marketing ideas as you can so you to choose how to promote your business most successfully. Completed these business start-up actions, you will have all of the most important small business bases protected, and be prepared for small business success.

15 Business Ideas to Generate Extra Income

If you want or need to start a side job because you still need to wait a little bit longer to start your own business, here are 15 suggestions for you.

1. Make money Blogging

If you enjoy writing, find a theme you’re passionate about and start a blog dedicated to covering that theme and anything else interesting you enjoy to talk about. All you need is a laptop, some time, and inspiration to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time. Creating a blog is free, but if you want to look professional it can cost less than $ 12 per month.

2. Buying or selling on eBay

Thanks to internet there are more opportunities to make money than ever to buy and resell products for extra money. There are lots of people buy at a discount and resell them on eBay for profit.

3. Freelance writing

If you’re great with words, you might be capable to find some work as an online freelancer. A variety of publications need online content in the form of product, stories, service descriptions, and reports, and if you have the talent and ability, you could easily be the one to create them. Luckily, all you need is a computer and Internet connection to get started. You can start here freelancer.com

4. Social media expert

Now a day almost everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but did you know that many companies are willing to compensate people to support them managing their social media accounts and sometimes you can do it part-time from home. If this appeals you, to find social media jobs you can start by writing companies with a social media presence and visiting sites like Elance.com for opportunities.

5. Proofreading and editing

Do you have strong English skills and outstanding grammar? You may have chances to work as a proof-reader from home. Marketing for this can be hard; seek out those who might actually be able to use your services and advertise directly to them.

6. Virtual assistant

Many companies and individual professionals like having someone who can check and answer their email, organize task lists for them, someone who can update their calendars, and perform other administrative tasks, with minimal communication. The best of being a virtual assistant is that you can offer this service from home with a good Internet connection.

7. Website design

If you know a little bit about web design you can approach small businesses in your community, as they could use a very basic web presence to tell others about their business. These businesses usually don’t have a large budget for websites and create a great yet simple website is for you, get a bunch of clients from your local community, create sites for them, and maintains them for a small fee. You can easily get enough businesses to have a nice side business of your own with a low investment.

8. Affiliate marketing

Certain types of online businesses will pay you to promote their products and encourage sales. If you’re interested in learning more, check out affiliate marketing programs such as Click-bank, Commission Junction, and these websites are trustworthy and you can earn money by posting their products in your blog, website or Facebook. The secret of online business is all knowing targeting the right public and marketing efficiently. It can be overwhelming with all the information available online as more than 50% of the information is just a waste of time.

9. Become a business or life coach

If you are a good speaker and passionate about the business world and able to inspire and encourage others in a unique way, you could marketing your services as a business or even a life coach. Take your passion and expertise to the next level giving advice and suggest actionable steps people can take to progress their professional and private lives.

10. Start a resume writing service

If you’re excellent at writing remarkable resumes that in the end result in people getting the job, contemplate advertising those services. Most of your work will spin around writing, editing, designing, and proofreading, so you will only need few supplies outside of your computer and basic software to get started.

11. App Developer

Web app development is the creation of application programs that reside on remote servers and are delivered to the user’s device over the Internet. Now a day you can do apps with software’s you don’t really need to be a weirdo to do it, you can be an app developer for Facebook for instance and of course you can do it part-time and home based.

12. Business Consultant

If you are high organized and skilled being a good problem solver this job is for you. Companies bring Business Consultant to identify their problems, provide solutions and optimize companies. The only investments are your skills.

13. Data Entry Service

Many companies and online businesses require some type of manual information tracking, creating a vast amount of data entry work. Although there are many work-at-home scams related with data entry work, there are a lot of genuine chances available for genuine data entry businesses. If you are an excellent typist with an eye for detail, a data entry business is a great idea for you.

14. Freelance Writer

If you have the skill to write and inform people in a certain area, you can write small books or guides and sell them online, the biggest books platform is Amazon.com, where you can display your books for free and when they are sold, you will receive a percentage from the selling. Payments are made every month depending on your sales. Investment is only your time to write and imagination.

15. Internet Researcher

The Internet provides a vast amount of information. If you can quickly and efficiently navigate through that wealth of information, and essentially find a needle in a haystack, you can create a very successful business as an Internet researcher. Search for this kind of job online or about a company which is looking for this of service.

I give you only a glimpse what you could do, and these are just a few ideas, but many ideas were left behind.

First of all I advise you to think what you like to do as a hobby or in your free time, why don’t you make profit from what you are doing already?

You have the world as your disposal, but for a business to work out the first thing from all things is, it doesn’t matter what you intent to do, but you have to love it. If you love what you do it doesn’t feel like a job, you will be doing it with joy and this way you will be successful.

There are some side business opportunities that have grown more common in the past few years. And thanks to internet you have much more opportunities, ideas and help to develop your business.

What Are the Fabric Dyeing Methods?

The process of colouring, by applying fabric dyes to loose fibre, thread and fabric are called fabric dyeing. Being carried out for thousands of years, it has experimented in many different ways until today, and good results have been obtained. At the present time, Viktoria Fabric Dyes, which is one of the biggest brandmarks of fabric dyeing, suggests 3 different styles of it. These are; Bucket or Sink Method, Boiling Method and Washing-Machine Method. These methods will be explained in the following passages.

I. Bucket or Sink Method
• This fabric dyeing method is carried out by filling a bucket or a large container with water or occluding the drain of the sink; so as to fill it with water.
• If the operation is carried out somewhere out of the sink; the cover should be spread so as not the water to flow out.
• Before starting this fabric dyeing operation, the sink or the bullet should be filled with 60 C hot water, as the experts advise, and the powder fabric dye should be dissolved with hot water in another container.
• If the colour is too light, a little bit more dye should be added, but if it is too dark hot water should be added.
• The dissolved dye should be poured to the place where the water is and should be stirred for a while.
• After being cleared of all of its stains, the object to be dyed is put where the dye is, by being wet, and water and the dye are stirred for 10 minutes, without giving a break.
• The fabric that is kept in the water for at least half an hour and mostly for an hour, is taken out of the water when decided that it has the expected colour.
• Just after dyeing, Fiske fabric dye stabilizer is applied in accordance with the instructions.
• You should then rinse the dyed fabric with cold water. After this, wash your fabric with warm water and a soft detergent; rinse it and dry it. After getting dried, your fabric will have the expected colour.

II. Boiling Method
Boiling is another method used for fabric dyeing.

• A large pot in which fabric can move easily is filled with water and this pot is put on the cookstove. The cookstove is switched on and when the water begins boiling the dye is added into the water.
• The object to be dyed is wetted and thrown into the water.
• The object to be dyed is put where the dye is, by wetting; after being cleaned of all its stains. It is stirred in the first 10 minutes without giving a break.
• After this step, rinse the dyed fabric with cold water. Then, wash your fabric with warm water and soft detergent, rinse and dry it. After drying, your fabric will have the expected colour.

III. Washing Machine Method
You can easily dye your fabric with washing machine fabric dyeing method.
• The temperature level of the washing machine should be fixed at the highest level. Also, the time setting should be fixed in a way that the machine will operate at least 30 minutes.
• The fabric dye is melted completely by stirring it with hot water in a plastic pot. In it, 1 teaspoon of washing-up liquid is added.
• In another pot; if cotton or linen is being dyed, salt should be dissolved in 4 glasses of very hot water; and if silk or nylon is being dyed, a cup of vinegar and 2-4 glasses of hot water should be blended(mixed( together.
• Firstly the dye, and after that, the vinegar and salt are spilt into the detergent box of the washing machine and it should be switched on.
• After the machine stops, the dyed fabric is washed one more time with warm water and it becomes ready to use.

Elderspeak and Invisible Old People

This past September (September 1st to be exact) I was in a wheelchair in an emergency room with a fractured knee cap that occurred in a moment of fully lucid but impaired equilibrium. But here’s the good news: the bottle of beer I was carrying remained unscathed. No shattered glass or a drop of foamy goodness was lost. (That takes talent!) I should have known better than to imbibe in the second bottle of brew but as the saying goes, “What the heck. I was having a good time.” Even better news: the white jeans I was wearing survived without a mark or tear.

Have I learned my lesson? Yes, of course, I have. I’m not a dumb bunny. I no longer drink beer. I now drink white wine. Best of all, my sense of humor remains intact.

After a long wait in the emergency room, I was wheeled into a room by an attendant who thought I was his “sweetie” and waited some more for a nurse (or anyone) to appear. My daughter and son-in-law were standing behind my chair when a nurse arrived. Then the fun began. As if I was not there, the nurse asked my daughter for details about how my injury occurred.

I was thinking, “Why isn’t the nurse asking ME those questions. It’s MY injury!” Irritation gnawed at me until I finally swung the bulky chair around to face the nurse, hitting a few cabinets in the process. (I should have turned the chair before she entered the room but the space was small.) In a calm, polite tone of voice, I said, “Excuse me, I can hear and understand everything you say and I can answer all your questions. You can speak to ME. I’m not senile.” And I smiled.

The poor woman was taken aback. No one had probably spoken to her like that before. After all, she was just applying the accepted protocol for dealing with an old/older person – it’s a cultural thing, a “given” – white hair equals incompetence or senility. In her eyes, she had done nothing wrong. I knew that and that’s why I intentionally spoke to her in a calm, polite tone of voice.

Old people get used to and even expect (but don’t like) to be treated as if they don’t exist or are incompetent. It’s a societal assumption that old people can’t think clearly or remember much and they can’t hear or understand if you speak too softly or too fast. After all, most old people are senile or close to it so you have to be patronizing and deal with them as if they are children. Really? REALLY?

Not all old people are on the brink of senility – most are not even close. Mature people function quite well if they are spoken to with respect and treated with the assumption they are competent. If they are mentally impaired, acknowledge their existence and treat them respectfully.

Let’s get to the elderspeak element of the “old people are invisible” syndrome which I already experienced before I became invisible. It is beyond annoying and disrespectful. Here is an unrelated example, but typical of the elderspeak iceberg:

My sister and her husband were dedicated runners. They were “mature” – not teenagers. On their daily run around the community and their neighborhood, neighbors, sitting on their front lawn, many with a can of bubbly in their hand, yelled to them as they flew by, “you guys are so cute!” Was my sister angry? You bet. Please don’t call mature persons “cute”. A six-year-old child is cute. To call an elder “cute” is as demeaning and infantilizing as it gets.

Here’s more: If you are a healthcare worker, a mature female patient you just met is not your “sweetie” or “honey”. Terms of endearment are appropriate only when there is a romantic relationship. Egads! What a revelation! An old person in a romantic relationship? [gasp!] That’s disgusting! Really? No, it’s not. Oh, one more thing: Do not call me “young lady”. It’s patronizing, demeaning, condescending and disrespectful. (Okay, okay, I’m being overly sensitive – and grumpy.)

If those in authority call you cute or utter another term of endearment, it’s tempting to want to haul off and smack them into reality, but don’t give in to the temptation. Turn it around on them and tell them how cute they are, and what a sweetie pie they are for telling you how cute you are. Be sure to smile as you do it. Take note of their flustered or confused reaction.

Facts About Medicare Insurance The Government’s Website Doesn’t Explain

When it comes to investigating Medicare options, many personal financial educators refer individuals to the Medicare.gov website. The official U.S. government website for Medicare is, without question, the most comprehensive of informational portals.

But it can be overwhelming. Especially for the 11,000 men and women who turn 65 every day and first become eligible for Medicare. For most, the terminology is tantamount to learning a new language. Medicare health care plan options are more complex and varied than most are used to.

And, there are some important things the government website doesn’t tell you. For example, it fails to clearly point out the importance of your first plan enrollment. Nowhere on the website does it say that the Medicare plan choice may be irrevocable.

Nor does it really explain what questions to ask before choosing a plan. The Medicare.gov does a great job of offering impartial comparisons, such as premium rates. But when it comes to subjective elements, these are something the website can’t obviously address.

Anyone who has been Medicare eligible for a few years will tell you that selecting the right Medicare plan is not easy. In fact, some industry estimates find that between 25 and 40 percent of people switch after making a choice. Navigating the complexity is especially hard when you are first eligible for Medicare. That’s more so if your current or prior healthcare coverage consisted of a few options pre-selected by your employer or trade union.

One of the Medicare.gov features is the appearance of being able to directly connect with an insurance company. And while it’s logical to think that ‘buying directly’ is going to be better and save you money, it’s simply not true. Quite the contrary. It could be a significant and costly mistake.

The following are things to consider when using the Medicare.gov website as shared by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, a national advocacy and educational organization.

1. Medicare.gov is much easier to use for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. But that is just one of the options available to you. It may or may not be your best option. For those who prefer to see any doctor or specialist, only a Medigap plan offers that option. For those who travel or spend time in another state, a Medicare Advantage might not cover you outside of your primary area.

2. The Medicare.gov website doesn’t make it easy to understand things that matter such as in-network, out-of-pocket costs, drug plan coverage, coordination with Veteran’s coverage and Medicaid. “In Network” matters if you decide a Medicare Advantage plan is best for you. Knowing which local doctors, hospitals and especially specialists participate can be tricky to find on your own.

3. Medicare.gov’s Plan Comparisons seem very detailed. But they miss some important information that’s vital. For example, the decision you make when turning 65 could be irrevocable. Switching Medicare plans is not always possible. Medicare.gov does not tell you what’s possible if you don’t like your choice or when your chosen plan changes. These are all very important things to know before locking in a choice.

4. Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder prescription drug search can be confusing for those taking multiple medications. It’s especially important for the millions who take insulin medications.

5. Medicare.gov lists Medicare Advantage plan ancillary benefits (vision, dental, etc.). Unfortunately, there’s little detail of specifically what’s covered in terms of benefits and service providers.

Buying direct from an insurance company such as UnitedHealthcare (NYSE: UNH), Aetna (NYSE: AET), Cigna (NYSE: CI), or Humana (NYSE: HUM) — several of the leaders – or calling an 800-number may or may not be your best option. Is the person on the other end of the line a captive agent for the particular insurance company? Do they get some incentive for touting one particular plan over another?

Comparing Medicare plan options is always your smartest move. A local Medicare professional who is knowledgeable in local options including Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and prescription drug plan choices can be a well spent hour. Today most insurance agents will arrange an online meeting to discuss options and answer questions.

A national online directory listing Medicare insurance agents is offered by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. Access is free and private, unlike most websites that require you enter information before displaying results. Whether you are turning 65 or just have Medicare insurance questions you want answered, it’s a resource worth knowing about.

That local expertise and experience comes at no cost. And, the same plans that are available online or available directly from the insurance company can be sold by an agent appointed with the particular company. Perhaps most important, it’s available for the very same cost.

OK Preservities In Our Skincare, Natural or Not

There’s been a lot of talk on Social Media about the safety of preservatives these days and that’s a good thing! There is unfortunately a lot of misinformation as well. Let’s set the record straight!

Any product that is made with water requires a preservative. It’s to prevent bacteria, mold, fungus or other critters from growing in the product. Preservatives are needed to prevent contamination. Let’s talk about the preservative, Phenoxyethanol, specifically.

It rates a four on the Cosmetic safety database (0-10 scale, and four is measured at its most concentrated and isolated level, which means it’s not measured in a product). Pretty good, considered most other preservatives are measured at around seven or higher.

So let’s put it in perspective. Penoxyethanol is approved at 1% in products (Canada, Japan, and The European Union). When you consider toxicity is relative to dosage, 1% makes this is a very low risk. (Look at your label, and your preservative should be the last item on the list. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage, from the highest to the lowest. So the last ingredient on the list basically means it is the one at the lowest amount in your product).

It is also important to know how to decipher the information you read about. It’s sometimes easy to panic when you see a list of warnings, restrictions, numbers on scales, and jump to conclusions.

Penoxyethanol is a safe preservative that is approved for use at a very low dosage percentage (1%). Think of it in a 240ml/8oz bottle of lotion, for instance. At 1%, it is not a lot of preservative in your product.

Certain chemicals on their own can be concerning, but when combined are harmless. Let’s use the example of Lye. Horrible stuff on its own but mix it with water and oil and it creates soap. Add Olive Oil and you now have a soap gentle enough for children!

And.. be aware of those who might suggest that “if you can’t pronounce it, it shouldn’t be in your skincare. After all, Penoxyethanol is certainly not an easy word of the toung; but as we have disussed, you are better off to have this in your “Natural” or “Clean” skincare, than to put up with the many other chemicals available and so often utilized.

Finally, read your labels, ask questions and remember… Just because there’s a recipe on the internet for a great body scrub, it doesn’t make everyone a chemist.

Why You Don’t Need Laxatives for Weight Loss or Colon Health

Digestive health is easy to maintain, and you don’t need laxatives to maintain great colon health. Learning what your best proteins are, and combining them in your genetic zone of eating, you can keep being happy healthy and IBS free,even through old age.

Taking laxatives is dangerous for your health. Removing electrolytes from your body can damage your brain and cause seizures. Suppose you are driving and have a seizure. This could take your life unnecessarily.

Taking laxatives can have a rebound effect on your small intestine and colon. Your small intestine cannot absorb the nutrients your body needs, and the colon will stop working naturally, when it is being told when to work. This can lead to a damaged colon which has to be cut out and attached to your stomach with a colostomy bag to the outside for waste collection.

Taking laxatives causes your kidneys to shut down. When you remove all the water from your body through your colon, there is no reason for the kidneys to work, and they can shut down, causing you to have to go on dialysis.

Lastly, taking laxatives, can damage your heart. The electrolyte balance must be maintained for healthy signaling and rhythmic beating. Removing all the electrolytes from your system damages this delicate balance.

Learning how to fine-tune your eating for your best digestive health, starts with a book to learn which proteins work for your genetic blood type. Next learning which zone will work for you can be done by a simple genetic test. Are you low carb, or low fat. Are you balanced, or Mediterranean? Do you feel better eating protein, or vegetables?

Do you have any genetic aberrations, that could cause you to need additional nutritional support is another thing the simple genetic test will tell you. 40% of the population has MTHFR and eating the foods you need to support this condition will keep your colon clean and you happier and healthier.

Depending on supplementation can cause problems, because over supplementation, can cause a buildup of folic acid in the system, leading to cancer or an auto immune disease.

Learning how to manage your portion sizes, so you can help your colon heal. You may then learn how to maintain your best aging weight as well as keep your colon happy.

A happy balance of proteins and vegetables, for lunch or dinner.Fruits and fortified cereals with almond milk or fruit with yogurt or quinoa. You pick what you like best.

Learn which proteins are best for you, and which to avoid. Being open to change helps, because change is necessary to keep belly fat off.

The free newsletters, where you can get free coaching, and learn how to fine tune your eating.