Ways To Avoid Dilemmas With Last Minute Christmas Gifts

By Mary Braun

Ok, so youve worked tirelessly around the clock to create the perfect Christmas atmosphere for your guests as you await their arrival. You have hung all of the decorations, the Christmas dinner is all but ready to be eaten, and youve checked your gift list up and down to make sure that all gifts are accounted for. Your guests begin to arrive and something occurs that you simply did not conceive would be a problem. Someone you overlooked or someone who simply was not on your gift list turns up with one of your guests. Your first instinct is to panic and frantically scour the house for something that you may be able to put together as a list minute gift. Lets stop this whole scenario before you create that crudely put together gift and rewind a bit to help you get yourself out of this unexpected jam.

Lets go back to the time when you were shopping for the others on your list. After you have everything covered and everyone that you expect to arrive is checked off of your list, your shopping experience is not quite over yet. Were going to need some materials that will cover any unexpected visitor that could possibly walk through your door. Naturally the gift will not be perfect, but it can at least seem as if you planned on them being there rather than quickly wrapping whatever you have lying around the house that you think may suit them. First lets pick up a gift card or two to some restaurants or national department stores that you enjoy shopping at. If the unexpected guest never shows up, the spare gift isnt wasted. It can be used for a future birthday or anniversary gift, or even saved for yourself.

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While were at it, a few nice candles and a non-gender oriented gift basket are a nice idea to purchase as well. A nice bottle of wine paired with a sinful box of chocolates makes a nice gift basket for anyone. And if you never have to give it away during the holiday season, you can indulge in it yourself. You may need a couple of toys that will suit either or a boy or girl may also be necessary, say a cleaver looking piggy bank or a silver plated yoyo. Maybe even a harmonica which is far less annoying than a drum!

Now all we have to do is make sure that we have a little bit of extra wrap and gift tags on hand, and we are ready to tackle whatever problems may arise. Fast forward to the party, and there they are, walking through your door, that unexpected guest that previously could have put you in a state of desperation will not upset you. All thats left to do now is excuse yourself for just a moment while you quickly and easily prepare a gift that will make it seem as if you were well prepared for any scenario, which after all, you were. That unexpected guest will be impressed with your thoughtfulness and remember your holiday party for years to come.

About the Author: Impress an unexpected guest by having extra

Christmas gifts

around to make them feel welcome at your party. Wealthwood Gifts has an abundance of personalized gifts to choose from. Free ground shipping on orders over $50. Article Source: Ways to Avoid Dilemmas with Last Minute

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How To Save Money For Retirement

By Marilyn Pokorney

Saving money for retirement can be easy or difficult depending on your current salary. If you are like 75 percent of the American population, earning just enough money in your current job to meet your monthly bills, then it’s time to do some serious thinking on how you are going to live when you retire.

Social Security isn’t going to meet all your monthly payments. That is, if Social Security, or some revised form of it, still exists when your day of retirement arrives.

Here are some tips on how to save today for your future. No matter how little, or how much, you earn today.

Estimate how much you must save to give you the income you know is necessary for you to retire in comfort.

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Experts suggest that you will need an income equaling about 75 percent of your current take home pay. Be sure to estimate a rise in inflation which has historically been about 5.3 percent per year.

Figure out how much of your current salary will need have to save each year to achieve your retirement goal by counting backward from the year you plan to retire to see how many years you have before retirement. Include the possibility of being on a fixed income for as long as 20 or 30 years. Depending on how many years you have until retirement a U.S. Treasury bond that guarantees six percent interest might be considered, while stocks might have the potential for a much higher return, but has a much higher risk of loss.

A financial planner, stockbroker, or an accountant, can offer guidance, expertise and access to knowledge about almost any type of investment or retirement planning concerns.

Spread your money out over a variety of investments. Some will prosper while others may fail.

Set up an automatic draft from your bank account from your paycheck so that a portion of your income goes directly into your retirement funds. Pay off major debts, such as home mortgages, college loans and other significant cash-flow drains, as quickly as you can.

For more information visit:

http://www.apluswriting.net/finance/retire.htm

About the Author: Marilyn Pokorney

Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. Website: apluswriting.net

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Dealing With Distractions

By Kelley Robertson

In todays business world it is not uncommon for many sales people to work from a home office. At first this may seem like a great opportunity, however, it does create some unique challenges. One of the biggest obstacles is the number of distractions that can take us away from our work and prevent us from achieving our objectives.

When you work from a home office it is easy to get distracted from work, especially if it is work that you do not particularly enjoy like prospecting or cold calling. Watering the plants, running errands or even doing laundry can be a welcome change from the daily drudgery of selling. And, if you have young children, the number of distractions increases dramatically.

I, too, work from a home office and have had to deal with this challenge. Here are a few ideas that can help manage these distractions and improve your productivity.

– Create an office. When I first began working from home almost a decade ago, I used to work at my dining room table. Unfortunately, this put me in the middle of our household action. My wife would turn on the television and I would be instantly distracted from my work. In other cases, she would talk to me or ask me a question simply because I was in the same room. As a result, it was often difficult to focus on my work. Now I have an office and do the majority of my work there. If you dont have space to create an office, find somewhere in your house that has the least amount of traffic and opportunities for distractions.

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– Set specific business hours. This is particularly important if you have young children. It can be very difficult for children to understand that they cant disturb us while were working. If you have an office, close your door and place a do not disturb sign on it. This is particularly important if you are making client calls because it prevents family members from inadvertently barging in on you during a critical call.

– Use a to do listeveryday. Having a list of what you need to accomplish each day can help keep you focused; otherwise, it becomes too easy to do other things around the house. If you know that you need to accomplish a certain number of tasks by the end of the day, it can prevent you from getting distracted during the day. One of the challenges with this is that household duties or running errands are more enjoyable compared to work we have to complete. However, I have frequently found that once I get involved in my task, the desire to do something else fades.

– Set deadlines for the projects youre working on. Although I dont have anyone holding me accountable to these deadlines, it find that this approach can help keep me on track. You can also share these deadlines with other people to help keep yourself focused especially if this type of accountability works for you.

-Give your permission to relax from time-to-time. Its okay to allow yourself to get distracted once in a while. As long its not a regular occurrence, you dont have to worry too much about it. However, if your relaxation time overtakes your work time, then you need to reconsider your priorities.

– Share your goals and objections with a group of advisors. This type of accountability works well for many people because they know they will have to report their progress on specific projects.

– Recognize that the results you achieve are a direct result of the effort you put into your work. When I first started my private practice, it was easy to put aside work and do chores or run errands. In my first year, I treated work like a part-time job, clocking an average of 20-25 hours per week. When I evaluated my results at the end of the year I realized I couldnt afford to maintain this mentality. So I started working more. And, I got better results. I eventually learned that the more effort I put into my work, the better results I achieved in terms of the revenue and income I generated. This made it easier to avoid the distractions and focus more on my work.

– Lastly, you can try an approach I learned from Brian Tracy many years. When you find yourself procrastinating on a particular task or project, repeat the following three words to yourself over and over. Do it now. This can be a great way to prevent yourself from getting distracted by other things you would prefer to do.

Distractions are sometimes positive. A break away from work can clear your mind, give you the opportunity to refresh yourself, and increase your energy level. However, it is important to remember that you have a responsibility to yourself and your business to limit these distractions.

2006 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

About the Author: Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales & profitability and motivate their employees. Receive a FREE copy of 100 Ways to Increase Your Sales by subscribing to his free newsletter available at

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