Category: Family Life

 

Christmas, Business, Life Balance – Aarrgh!

Christmas + Business + Life Balance =

  1. “Bah humbug”
  2. “Life’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”.
  3. “There are no winners in life, Only survivors”
  4. No problems – I got it sorted!
  5. Love Christmas, this is my favorite time of year.

 

Now, I don’t know your response. But I can tell you over the 34 years of Christmas, my response has changed.

Businesses are generally in one of two categories.

Category 1. This is our busiest or most stressful time of year.

Category 2. We close down for business.

I am sure you can see your business in one of these categories.

So why does Christmas create such stress for so many of us?

  • Personal memories or anniversaries
  • Paying of monies without income
  • Extra costs and delayed income
  • Super Busy
  • Trying to fit so much in with limited time available
  • Un realistic expectations
  • Business anniversaries – End of Year, budgets, reviews, planning etc.
  • External commitment increases, e.g. where you volunteer or assist, end of year functions etc.
  • Balancing staff with holidays, religious and cultural anniversaries

Just to name a few

So how can you achieve all this and have a good Christmas?

There is no magic answer, as it is different for everyone.  However I do have some suggestions that have made my Christmas’s much more enjoyable.

  1. Pre Plan – Lists, Budgets, Basically treat this as a project and plan, plan, plan.
  2. Set a budget and stick to it. – Easier said than done, but include in your budget a bit of a buff zone.
  3. Plan time out for yourself. Without this you will most likely not enjoy christmas
  4. Allow yourself a bit of selfishness. Get yourself a small treat e.g. a massage, or hair appointment, or good book.
  5. Be at peace with saying – No. Everyone will want something from you, feel OK about refusing every single request.  In short, you really will only increase your own burden if you are not OK with saying No.
  6. Look after your health, your spiritual, your mental wellbeing. This is important.

Now, for 33 of my 34 business years, I have improved on Christmas each year. However each year I strive to get better at this.  However, Last year, I finally found my magic formula.  So I am going to let you into my secret.

I have a Category 2 business.  So we close down, have no income, have expenses, increased demand just prior to Christmas, and know we are coming back to a full load in the New Year.   Each year I have planned, budgeted, and even given myself some time off e.g. a holiday.  But each year I have felt stressed – until last year.  I tried something totally new, and for me – wow, what a difference.  So much so, that now I won’t do Christmas again by choice without this new step.

Here is what I do.

  1. Plan, budget and organize.
  2. Watch my health, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
  3. Express in advance all the steps with my key staff, so we are all on the same page.

Here is the magic for me.

I disappear and float down the Murray River for the 5 days to a week leading up to Christmas, only returning home on Christmas Eve.  So I no longer deal with the stress on the road, with last minute shopping, Christmas wrapping, extra drinks and dinners.  I am either ready a week before, or too bad.

This really works for me.  I had everything ready either around the tree, or in the freezer ready to pull out.  The fresh food I need, I pick up on the late afternoon of Christmas Eve.

So in simple terms, I found my “opt out” option that suited me.  I took it, to escape the worst time.  Why has this been the worst time?

  • I used to get extra requests to meet, catchup, do something. – Even if asked, I just can’t do anything.
  • Last minute shopping and dealing with all the stress that involves. Being away in a river with no shops – this is not an option.
  • I forgot something – too bad. We will have to live with this fact.  It is surprising how little of this matters, or can be easily solved, when you have to.
  • People start realizing you are not there and they stop asking you to help. Now, that is nice for a week.
  • You are planned and organized and you are prepared to leave. So you just let go on the mental pressure.

My suggestion, is for you to find you’re off switch, and use it at the best time for you.  So if you are a category 1 business, this may be before the Christmas build up.  You may also need another one after Christmas.  If you are a category 2 – like me, consider your own opt out.  It may be a simple as demanding a day or two to sit in the back yard and read a book – without phones or family demands, so this may take a bit of pre thought – but you can do it.

For those of you who face a bad anniversary Christmas, such as a family loss anniversary.  Sharing your pain can often help.  I know of a few people in this boat, and friends to these people we keep in our prayers, in our Christmas plans – so that life is easier for them during this period, and we are open to allow them to share or talk when they need during the difficult times.  So if you wish to share, please comment on this blog, and share.  Sharing this information often reduces the pain dramatically.

I know this will sound selfish, but I have found my solution, and I plan to have a really blessed and peaceful Christmas.  I hope that if you read this, you will “like” this, and have the Christmas you desire.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Women: Best choice for IT Industry

Women: Best Choice for IT Industry

Women: Best Choice for IT Industry

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and even though my son forgot, and frankly I did not have a very good day I spent time considering what it is like being a mother and being employed in IT.

I have raised a son, for the majority of his school and high school as a single mother, working, employed and employing people in IT. I found that this industry was brilliant for a mum. In fact I cannot sing the praises enough of IT and specifically business programming for mums.

You may ask why, but the answer is simple.

If you are at all creative, intelligent, want a good income, and of course you need flexible time and hours then programming may just be the ticket. Good programmers are hard to find.

I would even be as bold as to say, that women make better programmers in my opinion than men. I will clarify this by stating, that in general Women are plodders they make a plan of attack and plod towards it. Men on the other hand are naturally hunters and they go full pelt and then stop. This is why most men only last 8 years as programmers. Those that last longer, you will find that in general they have a strong feminine side to their personality they are generally plodders. Those that leave programmer generally go into management, project management, consulting, teaching etc. However, women programmers get more experience, paid more and still choose their own times and work pressures.

As a woman I have been programming for 34 years. Admittedly I also manage other people. But it is programming I love. I feel great fulfillment when my code works and works well. I find that I get annoyed at my male colleagues when they do not do due diligence, or just pound through work, without seeing the end result.

The other type of better programmer is person that has not only excellence in empathy, but also in knowing what items are important / show stoppers and what are not. I have found some people just don’t understand this. Only today, I faced this miss understanding of the level of a problem. I think some programmers just do not connect to the real world.

So if you love computers, think programming is all about game creation, and you really just want money, but not feel like you are working. Studying to be a business programmer is wasting your time just stop.

I was interviewing for a job opening here in the last 3 weeks, and I was astounded by the quality and level of applicants. However for most applicants they will be looking for a long time. Either that or they will be offered help desk work, get annoyed at the pay and opportunities offered to them by IT and leave.

I did however find it interesting, how many people retrained into IT from other jobs, quite often when they found their other job too stressful. I consider IT stressful, especially when your code is supporting hundreds of lives and jobs. But this is a woman’s view point, and from what I have interpreted from my colleges (all males), they do not always consider the end use of the code.

So if you are seeking a career choice, and plan to have a family and home which you can give yourself time to be with your children when they are sick, or on sports days etc. Consider programming. It could be well worth your consideration.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Hope behind Endings

Accede Holdings begginings endings
Accede Holdings begginings endings

image from one-story.com

For those who read my blogs, you will know I am currently in Lent. Last week’s my studies took me to consider Death/Endings. To top this off, I have felt like death warmed up. In fact I have been in bed for days. So whilst laying up and getting over this horrid cold, I have had time to consider Endings.

All the endings I have faced have been painful and hard. I may have felt glad it was the end of a bad situation, but even with that, endings are painful and hard. However, without endings, there cannot be beginnings. I wondered why they are painful and hard, my logic understands that this is part of a process, and one that is necessary. I am not a person who fears change, I have accepted that Change is the only constant in life. So why, I wondered are Endings hard and painful?

As stated, I have had time to ponder.

When a relationship comes to an end, whatever the reason, without meaning to, we review or at least need to review. We see both the good and the bad. We see happiness and sorrow. We call this mourning and we do need to do this, so that we can let go and move on. Even a bad relationship we need to mourn, not due to missing the other person, but to allow ourselves to put things into perspective. How often people who have issues find when they explore these issues, that they need to go back and mourn or review a past relationship. Moving on without mourning, really creates many issues.

I wondered why in Lent we need to Give up and Take on things. By giving up something generally that something that creates clutter in our lives (too much food, too much shopping, too much alcohol etc.) we give ourselves the space to review which in my opinion is the Taking on of something the review.

Endings are rather interesting. I have been reading about some old traditions regarding the end of a year and the start of a new one. Quite often this time is spent in festivities. Brushing away the old, and welcoming the new. Some funerals are a celebration of a person’s life, and a renewing of old friendships.

So in business. A contract comes to an end. Why do we have such a range of emotions Gladness, hollow, empty, happy, satisfied the list goes on. The emotions are natural and need to be allowed to be reviewed. We review so that we can improve. If we allow ourselves to review, then we can improve. Nothing is more helpful than experience. But experience will only cement itself to being useful if we review what has past ended.

I am now in my 34th year of being a business owner and employee. I am preparing for my own succession my own ending at Accede. I still have habits of reviewing my performance on a weekly basis something I have done since my first 6 months in business (note: I lost 18 secretaries in my first year of business pretty bad boss!). I have learnt, and now I am passing this on. Endings are natural, but even being natural, expected and accepted they are painful and they hurt.

I realised that this is just a fact and a fact I have to accept. My only hope as my succession comes, that the pain and hurt I feel, I hope to minimise for my staff, my clients and my friends.

Only time will tell.

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Life Lessons I Learned in Renewing the Business

As a Christian, I am currently in the period we call Lent. Lent for me is a time of year that I review, repent and then begin renewal. While I was studying in my Lenten study group last night, I noticed that what we studied had a great similarity to the circle of life.

renewWhen I considered the idea of a circle of life, and how this circle of life in a micro sense is a circle of my Christian life, I really began to appreciate the need to Die/Renew oneself, and how energizing this is.

I also realised the necessity for routine and ritual in this process.

In our own lives, we are born, we grow, and we review our lives and repent or try to do better. We often as people do major sacrifices to start a new form of life, e.g. being a parent generally means the end of a single and sometimes selfish life.

So this circle really has a lot of ways it can be applied in our lives.

As a director I know I am responsible for my business, and to make sure I give it the care and attention, I generally consider that business to be that of a helpless child, one I have to care for, protect, watch out for, and help to develop. With this mindset, I wondered what applying the circle of life idea would have on my business.

 

Check, Fix, and Renew…

If I review my business on an annual basis, work out what I need to repent/ fix/ rectify and then renew my business. I will naturally bring about the death of out of date routines and bring about new goals and ways of growth. This new birth would need to be done with some form of recognition and acceptance by staff. It would also have to be a regular event. By doing this process, I would be bringing new life to my business.

 

In business, Energy = Income

annual-report-61851_640Up until now, bringing about energy and life in a business can really be either by the staff one employs, irregular ideas or promotions, or an external reason that brings about a surge in the company or forces a change.

The concept of me making this happen on a regular way, and having control to bring about energy and new life in the company never really occurred to me in this fashion. I can see that this will be far less stress than any past ideas I have considered.

So as this is my first week in Lent I plan to use this week to Review. Next Week I will consider how I can repent, then the best way to put the past to death and bring about the New Accede.

 

Wish me good luck!

For those of you, who like me are working through your own Lenten circle of Life I send blessings.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Millennials on Family and Business

image from uws.edu.au

image from uws.edu.au

I have a son who is almost 21 years of age. I am lucky. He has a work ethic, and even though he would love to be Peter Pan for his whole life, my blunt, no nonsense approach has made him face the facts that Peter Pan will not give him the life style he so demands.

However with this said, I have recently been involved in another family members life crisis. 5 months ago a family member was made redundant. He has apparently looked for jobs, but won’t return phone calls, or even keep his phone on him and turned on. Why, I can only assume because he will get a job, and can no longer excuse his laziness and desire not to work.

If you are reading this, you may think I am harsh. However, I will back this up, by stating, we offered him work, and he has elected for the last 2 weeks not to take up this offer. He did not return 2 phone call messages, or even answer the phone on the agreed call time. Blamed his 5 year old son for having his phone. In the end, he decided not to work this week, because he hopes to have job interviews! Just to get this in perspective, the offer was made because his family (wife and 2 children under 6) would not be able to make their mortgage payments in 5 weeks time.

I can repeat this story for other family friends, their children, nieces and nephews.

What is with this generation?

Personally, I am tired of working hard, paying tax, and knowing this paid tax is literally just propping up these lazy people. Before we had such a welfare state, people worked or starved. I am not stating I would like people to starve. However, I am really tired of our government stating we should work until we are 70 to keep propping up these lazy people.

Enough is enough!
image from fastcompany.com

image from fastcompany.com

Our whole country is drowning, and no one is taking the hard calls. Our politicians are too busy feathering their own nests. Those employed are busting butt trying to get from A to B. Big business, care for those that are part of their group, and too bad for the rest. Some companies only care about the bottom line. For the last 20 years, our government has just demanded businesses give more. Well businesses have had to go too far, they are now leaving the country or giving up (quitting or retiring).

So where does this lead?

Dollar depreciation creates a domino effect from lesser lifestyle standards to higher crime rates. I believe if a survey was done, those unemployed for 3 months, it would be clear, how much emotional damage has affected these people. We have a responsibility not only to the physical welfare but the emotional one as well. Pacifying welfare recipients is a recipe for disaster in this country. Our government need to be responsible and face these facts.

What do I think we should do?

Experts in this area will bring many ideas. These ideas need to be considered and an active plan put in place, that must be followed and reviewed by each government party whether they be Liberal or Labour. This generation needs to understand that Peter Pan is dead! Living off their parents after the age of 21 is abuse (unless studying and this should be agreed to by the parents prior, with a specific end date).

The Welfare State as we have it, should cease. We need to find our own path. Review the pluses and minuses of the Welfare systems in the UK, the USA and other countries. Come up with a plan and option that will work for Australia.

I feel we are looking at this a bit like the Carbon issue. Doing too little, too late. We will pay the penalty.

I for one, will not stand by and let this happen. I am taking the hard calls today, and hope that my son, will learn, rise above, and be an achiever for his generation. The few that do stand up, will be given opportunity, and will reap success.

As far as business and myself. Well, I try to find the gems in generation Y. They are there, even though hard to find. But Gems they are, and as such, greatly valued by myself.

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail