The Economic Downturn

The Economic Downturn (g).png

Hi guys....yes I'm actually going to go into a topic like this because this is the reality we are facing in my country. Things are not as they used to be. We no longer have oil to give us the billions that we used to receive and we never too the time, after all these years, to develop our tourism to the point where we can compete with Islands like Barbados or St Thomas.

Our former President did have a vision. Mr. Manjing was striving to make Trinidad the New York of the Caribbean. The Industrial giant if the Caribbean. The business hub of the Islands but that dream died with him and with the next Government things went from bad to worse and now they are taking every attempt to build back the country and pay off all the debt we were drowning in.

It's a hard road but the bright spot is that with every negative there is a positive. The way the economy is forced people to become innovatively creative. To find businesses they can earn some extra cash and that to me brings out the creative side of people. We have local crafts people selling their items in up markets.



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The upmarket themselves are money makers for those who organize them and we see the millenials are becoming entrepreneurs and not just workers. The one black spot right now though is the high criminal activities between rival gangs and sometimes the innocent bystander get hurt.

The government is making every attempt to stall the crime but that is difficult and will take a lot of organising and structure and will entail also weeding out the criminals within the police force itself. This is what they are trying to do right now, not sure how successful they will be but at least they're making an attempt. Don't get me wrong, we are listed really highly. Trinidad and Tobago is the wealthiest country in the Caribbean as well as the third richest country by GDP (PPP) per capita in the Americas after the United States and Canada.

Energy production and downstream industrial use dominate the economy. Oil and gas typically account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports but less than 5% of employment. Trinidad and Tobago is home to one of the largest natural gas liquefaction facilities in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, the OECD removed the Caribbean nation from its list of developing countries and upgraded the islands to the status of developed. ... The poverty level in Trinidad and Tobago is actually lower than Israel - which is a fully-developed, OECD country.

GET ARTWORK ON THESE ITEMS RIGHT HERE

GET ARTWORK ON THESE ITEMS RIGHT HERE


However, theft and violent crimes remain prevalent to this date, while crime and the perception of crime continues to hamper the economic prospects of the city. Laventille has some of the highest crime rates inTrinidad and Tobago, with drugs, gangs, and murders being the main problem in this community. There is a gap between the rich and poor in Trinidad and Tobago, and theft is common on the island of Trinidad, but Tobago is more traditionally touristy and has many beach resorts that are generally considered safe, but as with all countries, caution is still recommended, especially after dark.

So what do we have now, a country that is an amazing place to live with it's gorgeous terrain, friendly people, lovely climate and fabulous food but it's being messed up be a minority that are greedy and want power, a few who use Trinidad & Tobago as a transfer point for guns due to our location and lastly we are affected by those who look for justice and fairness but go about it the wrong way. Again it is unfortunate.

But one great thing about Trinidad & Tobago is that it is filled with praying people and the islands are named after the Holy Trinity, the father, son and Holy Spirit, so there is always hope and we have faith that Our Country will be made better at some point. The world is going crazy, there are things happening in other countries that baffle the mind and there are things going on we can't even begin to comprehend. I for one prefer to stay in my little Island and enjoy my people and my simple life and pray that God looks after the innocent.

I hope you all are not going through difficult times in your country and if you are find a way to stay hopeful and happy. Later people and see you later.

The Story of an Art Piece

Read my story of one of my art pieces. gafra.org

Hi Guys..... this is one of my pieces. I wanted to give you an idea of the story behind some of my pieces, if you happened to take the time to visit my Art sites at www.gafra.org or www.gafra-art.com, you will see this piece. So what's the story behind this piece called "Gran Couva Huts"? Well, ever so often my husband and I go for a drive into a semi country area where there is this Estate or garden center that sells plants called La Vega. On the way you pass these huts that once formed part of an old plantation. The people who worked on this plantation lived in these huts. Even today there are still a few families that live in one or two of them.



I wanted to give you a preview into my art and what types of stories come along with them. For this piece, the huts themselves and how they looked captured my attention. They had a sense of history about them seeing as they are in Gran Couva, a place known for having the finest cocoa in the world. This is due to the soil type and the climate, converging to create a cocoa that makes the best chocolate ever! Trinidad is known for its amazing cocoa, whose quality is exquisite.



I work in Watercolour mainly but branched out into acrylic abstracts later in my painting journey. After taking the photo, I then rendered it  and maybe a few days later I start painting. I leave it to look at it for a few days to decide if it needs to be tweaked, then I'm done. I really enjoyed painting these huts as they are a part of Trinidad's history. We once had cocoa estates run by plantation owners and the workers lived in huts like these.

This is my watercolour painting representing those huts and how they appear to me, how I see them through my art eye. My method is a simple of of seeing something that is painterly, taking a photo at the angle I feel most comfortable with, doing a sketch back home, then start the process of painting. I may take a few days to paint one piece or complete in immediately, it depends on how i'm feeling at the time as well as what is happening at home. My studio...if you can call it that is a small space in the corner of a room we call the library and that is where i create.

Gran couvaHuts.jpg

Gran Couve Hut

Watercolour Piece

gran couva huts

I know most of you who follow me aren't artist or may not even be creative but I believe we all have that ability but we may be afraid or just judgemental of ourselves so we don't try at all. You never know what you're capable until you try only then can you say...."OK I suck at this..."

 Art is a means to de-stress for me as well its one of my creative outlets. I need ways to cleanse me from the negative energies in my system as a result of coaching and hearing a lot of peoples' problems, hurts, insecurities, anger, challenges and more. Art is what I use to cleanse myself. Everyone has to find that activity that helps them clean up their aura or energy and re-energise them. Find what works for you as I did.

 

This piece is a watercolour painting of an abandoned hut  saw while spending a weekend at a place called Pawee. My Art class spent the weekend there and we did some hiking and painting. While tracking through what used to be a nutmeg and coffee estate we crossed rivers and streams and climbed some steep hills, at one such hill this hut appeared and we were told by our guide that is was once used to store the nutmeg when the estate was a thriving. What history and to me it stood out and I knew I had to take that photo and capture it via a painting.

hut.jpg

Abandoned Hut

A Watercolour Art Piece

Abandoned Hut

 

This piece is a watercolour painting of an Abandoned Pawee Hut in the Pawee Estate in Toco. I visited an Old Nutmeg Estate that also has some Cocoa plants, a Cocoa hut and a nutmeg storage hut and a hiking path. This is the nutmeg storage hut we saw as we hiked through the Estate. There was a lovely shallow river and so much more. We had a wonderful time there. I saw this old hut and it called to me and I did my usual. Took a photo, then a few days later rendered it and started painting and this is the end result. hope you like it, a piece of Trinidad, a piece of History.



So people put a hand to trying something creative that you feel comfortable with. You won't know how good you are until you try. So whether you're an Art Lover or not bye for now, we will chat again soon. OH !!! Also check out my Printable planners that I create, I think they are great but I made them . let me know what you think.

 

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Product Discover - Products I Use

Products I use, gafra.org

Hi guys...I wanted to talk about my everyday life and some of the products I've discovered or heard about as I go through my daily life and as I work at developing my Online business. I already have a great Coaching and Development business but the products I use there aren't as interesting as what I encounter for the online business or for Life in general.

Items In My General Life

My routine is pretty simple. I get up around 4 am , prepare for work, I drop m daughter first but if we have time to kill we would go to Starbucks until its time for her to get to work. Once I’ve dropped her to work then I head off to facilitate a coaching session with a client or I head to the office. If I have a session or two then I would return to the office for lunch then it’s out again for the after lunch coaching sessions with more clients. At the end of the day I pick up my daughter and we either go exercise then go home or we go straight home. So the items I value are:

My Fossil Watch - it counts my steps and I feel really proud of myself when I’m able to do 10,000 steps in a day.

  1. My MacBook Pro – I do everything on my Mac – my blogs, my reports, designing my websites, my research, my everything, so I keep that very close to me and I recently bought a cover to protect it.

  2. Other items I tend to purchase from Amazon are the PCA Skin Products, Dresses on Amazon e,g, ROOSEY Women's Floral Printed - I tend to buy a lot of my clothes abroad. I started doing that when I travelled for conferences and if I’m not traveling then I go on amazon to find dresses that I love. Yes it’ cost less to buy and ship them here versus getting hem here. What tends to happen is, the stores and boutiques sometimes sell q few of one style and you could sometimes end up somewhere , where another person has on the same dress…yeah I know if that could happen to the stars then who am I but It’s not nice and it can be embarrassing, so to prevent that I get my stuff abroad, although lately I have been seeing women with dresses I almost bought online myself.

  3. Other items I tend to purchase from Amazon are the PCA Skin Products, Dresses on Amazon e,g, ROOSEY Women's Floral Printed - I tend to buy a lot of my clothes abroad. I started doing that when I travelled for conferences and if I’m not traveling then I go on amazon to find dresses that I love. Yes it’ cost less to buy and ship them here versus getting hem here. What tends to happen is, the stores and boutiques sometimes sell q few of one style and you could sometimes end up somewhere , where another person has on the same dress…yeah I know if that could happen to the stars then who am I but It’s not nice and it can be embarrassing, so to prevent that I get my stuff abroad, although lately I have been seeing women with dresses I almost bought online myself.

 
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Time Management Planner Pages right HERE . gafra,org

PCA Skin is a beauty product to prevent wrinkles and to deal with stretching the skin. I found out about it when I visited a dermatologist because I was having some very bad pimple problems and she recommnded this product. I must say it is amazing and it really keeps mu skin smooh and fairly wrinkle free but it isn’t cheap so I have to do with the small sample packs and make it stretch for as long as possible. But excllent product.

At one point my husband and I decided to cut down on expenses as our bills were too high. One of the things we stopped paying for was Cable so we only paid for internet connection as without that my entire household would be in an uproar as everyone in this house lives on their Laptop. But Then I found the  Amazon Fire Stick. This replaced cable and we were still able to see all the show that we loved and enjoyed and we still had access to Netflix, plus most of all it wasn’t a continuous monthly expense. So when I’m at home this provides the entertainment and the relaxation.

Recently, I’ve ventured into Bullet Journaling and I, as usual went a bit overboard. I purchased the notebook, Dotted Grid Journal for Bullet Journalling , pens, Washi Tape, my Lamy pens and more. I love bullet journalling because I get to do the thing I enjoy and that’’s planning but with a difference. Now I can plan , journal, make notes, doodle, be creative and decorative with the different stickers available and I have other trackers and info all in one journal versus the basic diary whose layout is very limited and restricted. With the Bullet Journal I can design my own layout as I go along through the days, weeks and months. I JUST LOVE IT. I also love to write so my Lamy pens….yes I have two and I wish I had more, each has a different sized nib. I love how they write and I kinda like calligraphy, even though I’m not great at it. With my bullet Journalling I went got all I needed so I had to get a Container to organise and display all of my Washi tape.

I enjoyed buying the different Washi tapes, something I know nothing about.They are so much fun to use and they can also be used for other craft creations that you can never not use them.i had to thus buy a container to house all of my tape and even getting that was fun. Shopping online as we all know can be very addictive and because its so easy and convenient to do you do it easily but always monitor your spending. Don't let it get beyond you or else you could end up spending unncessarily, so check your priorities.

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My other main use for the products I purchase online are gifts, gifts for christmas, birthdays and more. Some of the items I've bought as gifts were:

  1. Jewellery - for my daughters for Christmas

  2. Phone case - strong case for my husband who destroys phones quickly

  3. Phone

  4. Shoes

  5. Clothes - Quick Dry Golf Shirt and Golf pants for my husband

  6. Laptop Covers

Online Items

With my Online Business, lets start with all the different tools and platforms I've stumbled upon as I went along growing my knowledge about blogging and what to do to develop my blog and my website. With the website I started off with:

  1. Wordpress. This is a great platform but can be a bit less user friendly, so I have this blog on Wordpress and one art site on Wordpress. To set up a shop on wordpress or to do any additional features one needs to buy plugins and that was a problem for me. As an international user we a restricted from some plugins and that started being very annoying for me so I stick to the simple features provided by Wordpress.

  2. I discovered Squarespace - A much more user friendly and easy platform to use to not only design your website but also to set up a shop. It ghas been the easiest platform to use, it’s so user friendly and I love being able to crate all the different blogs and website interfaces myself.

  3. Mailchimp – again a very easy to use and inexpensive platform that manages your emails and allows you to offer freebies and collect email addresses so you can offer more and develop a community.

  4. Pinterest – this is my go to for fesearch as I love to read and you can find articles or blogs on any topic you need. I also use it as my art inspiration. If I need an idea for a painting, as Pinterest is like the visual version of Google I go there for my ideas.

  5. Instagram – now getting into this app as I’m not really the selfie type but it is great to show your work and share your blogs so I’m slowly understanding it’s importance.




Amazon - A bit About It

So Amazon is my main means of getting what I want without having to travel. This is so different from long ago when you couldn’t get anything unless you had a shipper and it took 6-8 weeks to arrive and the cost was ridiculous. Now you can get an item the next day if you’re willing to pay the extra. Technology and innovation sure has changed our way of life. How much does Amazon sell?

How Many Products Does Amazon Sell Worldwide – January 2018. Amazon lists more than 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces worldwide. We took a look at the number of products Amazon lists online for more than its 300 million customers. Today Amazon sells over 480 million products in the USA. Amazon's product selection has expanded by 235 million in the past 16 months. That an extraordinary average of 485 thousand new products per day. Amazon's catalogue is grouped into dozens of departments. Prime memberships are currently available in 17 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the US.

INNOVATION. Amazon's success largely stems from its innovative technologies and practices, many of which were championed by its CEO, Jeff Bezos. ... This innovative technology was a huge investment for the e-commerce giant—one that fostered exceptional results. Over 22 million Echo units were sold in 2017 alone

Who are Amazon's closest competitors?

Top Amazon Competitors

  • The following are the top Amazon Competitors.

  • Amazon Competitors In E-commerce Segment.

  • 1) Alibaba.

  • 2) Walmart.

  • 3) Otto.

  • 4) JD.

  • 5) Priceline.

  • 6) eBay.

A Few alternatives for cheap online shopping versus Amazon

  1. eBay. Amazon's biggest competition: the bidding website for discount shopping.

  2. Overstock. Overloaded ecommerce stock meets handcrafting artisans with unique products.

  3. Newegg. Leading the tech world in ecommerce.

  4. Zappos.

  5. AliExpress.

  6. Jet.com.

  7. Barnes & Noble.

  8. Rakuten.

The Close

I love Amazon as they allow me to buy for me and my family items that would normally not be easily available to us. I really love Amazon and I hope they continue in existence for a while but as we all know nothing lasts forever but there are alternatives , but lets hope they stay around for a long time. Please be advised that I am using VigLink to shorten my links and I also have some affiliate products on my site from which I may gain a small commission if you purchase the product. This has no effect on the cost to you and the commission helps me maintain the cost of continuing my blog.

 
 
Gail Shadow Circular.jpeg





How to Coach: An Easy Method

How to Coach: An easy method…gafra.org

Hi guys....as you know I've started a series on helping you know how to do certain business activities, such as being better at planning and today I'm looking at coaching, how to coach someone, especially if they are a team member and you want them to develop.

Coaching is a process and it also takes certain characteristics within the person/coach to be able to guide others. I feel that first and foremost you must like or even love people to be able to care enough to want to coach or guide them. Lets get into this activity called coaching.

What is coaching?

Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee.

What are some of the benefits of Coaching?

Benefits to coaching an individual include:

  • improvement in individual's performance, targets and goals.

  • increased openness to personal learning and development.

  • increased ability to identify solutions to specific work-related issues.

  • greater ownership and responsibility.

  • development of self-awareness.

get printable coaching planner pages at gafra.org

GET YOUR PRINTABLE COACHING PLANNER HERE

What are the Key Skills Needed?

Key Coaching Skills

  • Goal-setting. Coaching is a goal-focused (or solution-focused) approach, so the ability to elicit clear, well-defined and emotionally engaging goals from a coachee is one of the most important skills for a coach to possess. ...

  • Looking. ...

  • Listening. ...

  • Empathising. ...

  • Questioning. ...

  • Giving feedback. ...

  • Intuiting. ...

  • Checking.

I depend mainly on my intuition, experience from doing this for so many years and I built my Listening, Empathising Observation and Questioning skills. These were key for me, then came giving the feedback based on the responses given. Most people have the answer within them but they are either blocking it themselves, afraid to face it, doubt their own answers or simply want someone else to verify their answer. So communication is vital and proper communication, because we communicate with our words (verbal), tone, and our expression or body language

Why is Coaching Necessary?

When organizations coach employees, benefits to the company include: Overcome costly and time-consuming performance problems. Strengthen employees' skills so you can delegate more tasks to them and focus on more important managerial responsibilities—such as planning.

The purpose of coaching is to improve the individual's performance on the job. This involves either enhancing current skills or acquiring new skills. Once the coachee successfully acquires the skills, the coach is no longer needed.

Below is a list of principles that can be effectively used for coaching success.

  • The Coaching Spirit.

  • Relationship and Trust.

  • Asking Questions and Curiosity.

  • Listening and Intuition.

  • Feedback and Awareness.

  • Suggestions and Simplification.

  • Goals and Action Plans.

  • Accountability and Accomplishments.

GET ALL OF YOUR BUSINESS PRINTABLE PLANNER PAGES HERE

How To Coach?

  1. First you need to determine with the coachee (and if necessary their Boss) what needs to improve. Explain and clearly describe why something needs to change

  2. Ensure the coachee understands and agrees with the necessary change. Ask.

  3. Determine what behaviours need to change to be able to achieve the end results. Set the goal.

  4. Develop an action plan or process to achieve the change in behaviour that will allow the relevant improvement. Involve the coachee. Discuss ideas for potential solutions and approaches

  5. Be there at every checkpoint of expected change to give feedback, or simply give feedback as the coachee goes along. Get to the core of what they are feeling as they start to practice different behaviours and what is their attitude?

  6. Show appreciation. Recognize positive movement or effort in order to encourage continued progress toward the agreed-upon goal

Ways To Deal With Difficult Employees

  1. Listen. Often, when an employee is difficult we stop paying attention to what's actually going on. ...

  2. Give clear, behavioural feedback. ...

  3. Document. ...

  4. Be consistent. ...

  5. Set consequences if things don't change. ...

  6. Work through the company's processes. ...

  7. Don't poison the well. ...

  8. Manage your self-talk.

How to Coach: The Easy Method

So you have an idea about coaching, but let me give you an even easier way to coach. It's via my Coaching planner. This has all the relevant sheets for you to follow the coaching process in a few easy steps, simply follow the flow of the pages and all the tracking and documentation you need is already done up for you, simply fill them in.

GET YOUR PRINTABLE COACHING PLANNERS HERE

These are the pages you will receive in this printable planner:

  1. Year to date Calendar

  2. Coaching list Plan - who needs coaching, in what and the benefits

  3. Individual Coaching Plan - the plan for each person

  4. Weekly Goals Setting Sheet

  5. Coaching for the Week - The coaching ideas for the week

  6. Daily Coaching Schedule Page - the activity, Dates, status

  7. Daily Planner

  8. Daily Schedule

  9. Coaching Follow-up Tracker

  10. Coaching notes pages

  11. Coaching Planning guide

Follow the guide and it will help you easily flow through the coaching process, what could be easier. I hope this was of great help to you and try out the printable coaching planner and let me know what you think.

Later guys and I apologise for the late posting.

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References:

  1. Forbes.com

  2. Inc.com

  3. Workplacepsychology.net

 

How to Solve Problems: An Easy method

How to Solve Problems_ An Easy Method (g).png

Hi everyone…as you see so far I’ve started on a series dealing with how to do different things via some easy methods, such as Plan, solve problems, delegate, coach, manage your time and manage/organise your life.

The last post dealt with how to plan using an easy method, today I’m looking at how you can have a simple process to be able to solve any personal or business problem. These are some of the things I deal with on a daily basis with my clients…….for those of you who are new to my blog, I am a Leadership coach here in Trinidad as well as an Artist, Blogger and mother of 4 millenials. I plan to do a blog post on Millennials soon as they are quite interesting and living with 4 kids with different personalities was an experience. Their ages range from 28 to 24.

My blog is a lifestyle blog, it’s my outlet to discuss/talk about anything and everything I see as interesting and which touches me. I am also an artist so my Art blog is www.gafra.org or www.gafra-art.com. If you want to view my work check out my Art site. Today I’m dealing with problem solving, so lets get started.

Problem Solving

Definition: the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.

People face problems every day—usually, multiple problems throughout the day. Sometimes these problems are straightforward: To decide what to cook with thw ingredients you have. Sometimes, however, the problems we encounter are more complex.

For example, say you have a work deadline, and you must mail a printed copy of a report to your supervisor by the end of the business day. The report is time-sensitive and must be sent overnight. You finished the report last night, but your printer will not work today. What should you do? First, you need to identify the problem and then apply a strategy for solving the problem.

Solve your problems, use this method, check me at gafra.org

GET YOUR PRINTABLE PLANNER HERE

Problem-solving strategies

When you are presented with a problem—whether it is a complex problem or a problem as simple as a printer whose toner has run out, how do you solve it? Before finding a solution to the problem, the problem must first be clearly identified. After that, one of many problem solving strategies can be applied, hopefully resulting in a solution.

They say that the steps to take to solve a problem are  - define, measure, analyze, improve and control. The first two steps define and measure the problem. The third step is the analysis. And the fourth and fifth steps, improve and control, are about solutions.

After that, one of many problem solving strategies devised can be applied, hopefully resulting in a solution. So basically a problem-solving strategy is a plan of action used to find a solution. Different strategies have different action plans associated with them. For example, a well-known strategy is trial and error another is working backwards.

Examples: Working Backwards: in which you begin solving the problem by focusing on the end result. Consider this example: You live in Washington, D.C. and have been invited to a wedding at 4 PM on Saturday in Philadelphia. Knowing that Interstate 95 tends to back up any day of the week, you need to plan your route and time your departure accordingly. If you want to be at the wedding service by 3:30 PM, and it takes 2.5 hours to get to Philadelphia without traffic, what time should you leave your house?

You use the working backwards heuristic to plan the events of your day on a regular basis, probably without even thinking about it. This is my main method if I know I going somewhere for a certain time. I hate being late and this backwards method works beautifully for me, in fact, I tend to add a few more minutes as a contingency, you never know what can happen on the way.

Trial and Error: In terms of your printer without toner, you could try checking the ink levels, and if that doesn’t work, you could check to make sure you don’t have another toner stashed somewhere. Or maybe the printer is actually broken. When using trial and error, you continue to try different solutions until you solved your problem. Although trial and error is not typically one of the most time-efficient strategies, it is a commonly used one.

This is a strategy most people use and yes it can take time until you pick or find the right solution but problem solving is normally needed in the blink of an eye so who can say if a method took too long or not, it will always take some time to solve any problem.

Creative problem solving (CPS): is a method of problem solving in which you approach a problem or challenge in an imaginative, innovative way. The goal of CPS is to come up with innovative solutions, make a decision, and take action quickly.

The Basic Steps to Problem Solving

The Six Steps

  1. Define the Problem.

  2. Determine the Root Cause(s) of the Problem.

  3. Develop Alternative Solutions.

  4. Select a Solution.

  5. Implement the Solution.

  6. Evaluate the Outcome.

Steps to Solving Problems in a Business environment

Dealing with a Difficult Problem

  1. Always try to solve a problem informally first. ...

  2. Focus on the problem, not the person. ...

  3. Be assertive, but be courteous. ...

  4. Focus on the immediate problem. ...

  5. Prepare for your meeting. ...

  6. If you are uncomfortable meeting alone, invite a third party to join you. ...

  7. Put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Problem-Solving: Your Next Steps and Skills

Now that you've brainstormed a list of potential problems, your next step is to think up effective solutions for these issues, noting the skills you will need to resolve them. 

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VISIST MY ETSY SHOP FOR YOUR PRINTABLE PROBLEM SOLVER PLANNER HERE

From A Business Perspective

Once you’ve determined what is causing a problem, it’s time to come up with possible alternative solutions. Sometimes this involves teamwork, since two (or more) minds are often better than one. It’s rare that a single strategy is the obvious route to solving a complex problem; devising a set of alternatives helps you to cover your bases and reduce your risk exposure should the first strategy you implement fail.

Evaluating the best solutions

Depending upon the nature of the problem and your chain of command, evaluating the best solutions may be performed by assigned teams, team leads, or forwarded upward to major corporate decision makers. Whoever makes the decision must evaluate potential costs, required resources, and possible barriers to successful solution implementation.

Implementing a plan

Once a course of action has been decided upon, it must be implemented, along with benchmarks that can quickly and accurately determine whether it’s working to solve a problem. Plan implementation also typically involves alerting personnel to changes in their standard operating procedures

Assessing the effectiveness of your interventions

Once a solution is implemented, the best problem-solvers have systems in place to ascertain if and how quickly it’s working. This way, they know as soon as possible whether the issue has been resolved or, alternatively, whether they’ll have to change their response to the problem mid-stream.

Summary

You now have the process to follow to solve a problem, but there is an even easier way. I created a planner to help you, do all the steps above thereby making the process much easier. You get the forms to answer all the relevant questions and the planner forms follow the process to problem solving.

These are the forms available in the Printable Problem Solver planner:

  1. Calendar

  2. List of Problem Page

  3. Problem Symptoms Page

  4. Root Cause Listing Page

  5. Additional Information Collection Page

  6. Problem Solver Page (list all possible solutions)

  7. Problem Solver Tracker Page (Track which solution worked for future use)

  8. Problem Solver Summary Page

  9. Meeting Agenda Page (for all meetings required with the team or any relevant individual(s))

  10. Meeting Planner

  11. Things to Remember Page

  12. Daily Goal Planning Page (set the goals for the different tasks needed to solve the problem)

  13. Weekly Goal Planning Page

  14. Monthly Goal Planning Page

  15. Notes Pages

I created 2 styles for this planner, for those who are minimalist, there is the Elegant Problem Solver Printable Planner and for those who like a bit of colour, there is the Red Problem Solver Printable Planner. Make life easier don’t reinvent the wheel, simply print theses pages and get to work. They are easily available HERE.

Get Your Printable Problem Solving Planner

GET YOUR PROBLEM SOLVER PRINTABLE PLANNERS HERE

I hope I’ve helped you make solving problems much easier, I tried to take away the frustration of deciding where to start and what to do first, like I said simply follow the flow of the forms and WALLA!!!!

I’LL SEE YOU GUYS LATER, LUV YOU ALL.




Referrals

  1. IPSY102 – COURSE.CERU.ORG

  2. The Balance Careers

How to Plan: An Easy Method

Having problems planning? Use this very easy method, simply visit my blog and get your answer.

Hi everyone…..as you know I am a Leadership Coach and one of the areas I coach or assist leaders to be more organized or to be better planners. I want to share a bit of what I know with you my followers. Most people don’t take the time to plan and simply keep everything in their heads. They also move to complete tasks as they remember, or they write down to-do lists, then wonder why at the end of the day they didn’t seem to complete anything of worth.

To-do lists are simple and what most people do to start their day and they think this is planning but it’s not. With a to-do list you tend to write down first whatever comes to your mind then the rest flows, but are they in order of priority? Are you doing the task that is important and urgent or as your list indicates, whatever is first. We tend to do the tasks on our list that are easy, quick to do, tasks we like or the tasks that was simply first.

Lets start at the beginning, to understand what is the best process to be a better planner:

Manage your time with this easy method, simply follow the flow of this method.
Time management made easy with this method

How to Create an Action Plan to Achieve Your Goals

  1. Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART.

  2. Work Backwards to Set Milestones.

  3. Determine What Needs to Happen to Reach Your Goals.

  4. Decide What Actions Are Required to Reach Your Goals, be very specific.

  5. Break up large tasks into smaller tasks

  6. Put Your Actions Into a Plan, that is in order of priority

  7. Set a Schedule for each task.

  8. Follow Through.

  9. Set a Deadline for achievement.

  10. Monitor/Track your progress, keep a record of all your activities

What is a Goal?

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.

After you’ve determined what your goal is (start with something small and simple), then develop an Action Plan. An action plan is a plan that contains enough detail to achieve an objective or goal. This typically includes an outline of goals, objectives, measurements, action steps and responsibilities for each step. In some cases, dates and budget are also included.

The Steps Required to Achieve Your Goals are:

  1. Set the Goal (s), with target dates and completion dates

  2. Break down within a Month what you need to complete or do to be able to accomplish the Long Term Goals

  3. Break the goals into specific tasks required to achieve the goal(s)

  4. Determine weekly what tasks you have to achieve for each goal

  5. Determine Daily what are the tasks required for completion, for each big goal

  6. Once you know all the very important tasks that must be completed to achieve the goals then set dates when each task can or should be completed. Scheduling is what happens now. Block the times to do specific tasks

  7. All other secondary tasks that follow must also be listed and dates set for their completion

  8. Schedule all of these tasks into your calendar and any appointments that must occur

Visit my Etsy Shop at www.gafra.org

VISIT MY ETSY SHOP HERE. GET  YOUR PLANNER

REMEMBER: EVERYTHING MUST BE DOCUMENTED. WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

ADDITIONAL STEPS IN THE BUSINESS AREA:

  1. From the business perspective, set all the relevant meetings that are needed to help you achieve the tasks listed.

  2. Develop a delegation list listing who you will delegate which task to for completion

  3. Track the performance of all your team members you have delegated to, to ensure they stay on track and within the timeline.

  4. Track all the tasks delegated and their status.

Items Needed:

  1. Paper to write all your goals (you can use a printable planner)

  2. A planner journal or Diary/Calendar

  3. Pen, pencil, eraser, highlighter

Additional Requirements:

  1. Have a positive attitude

  2. Stay determined despite any obstacles or distractions (your plan can be flexible so changes can be made and times rescheduled)

  3. Have someone who can support you or give encouragement when needed

  4. Take some downtime if necessary

  5. Visualise the end result (you can even do a vision board as part of your planning process, so you see what the outcome will look like)

How To Plan: The Easy Method, Right Here

I hope you enjoyed what I shared on how to plan as this is part of what I do for my clients, helping them to be better planners. If you need additional help let me know and we can always connect for you to get further coaching or guidance.

Later people. Look out for the other parts of this series, where I talk about Easy methods to handle other business and personal tasks, such as, delegate, solve problems, manage your time and more.

gafra.org, a site by a Caribbean woman,

gafra.org, a site by a Caribbean woman,

The Joys of Selling Ones Art

The joy of selling your art, read more at gafra.org

Hi everyone, ....it's been a hectic week and month and I guess it will be a hectic year, with me helping my daughter with her fitness, with me going walking with her every afternoon. Yes, I know...I'm gaining from this via good health through exercising daily.  I am also helping my mom with her doctor visits, paying bills, visiting friends and much more. I make sure to spend one day a week with my Mother helping her do whatever she may need to get accomplished.  I am also organising for all the upmarkets to come and those already done and I'm also painting, creating printable planners for my Etsy shop and dealing with my normal business clients that I coach. I guess that's why I feel a bit tired but as I always say the bit of exercise I do always helps.   

I did my first upmarket since last year, a few weekends ago, where I sold three art pieces . Upmarkets are great because you meet really great people and you get to be seen, but I learnt that people don't buy original art as its a bit pricey and they want bargain gift items for Mothers' day, Fathers' day, Christmas, Birthdays and any other special occasion. So I know now that the smaller less expensive art pieces are what I need to carry. I started painting pieces that fall between the sizes 9ins x 12ins or 10ins x 10ins and more. Sizes that are easy to transport or pack and more affordable for the customers who visit the upmarkets.  

 Its a shame Trinidad doesn't have a craft village like I saw in San Diego. There were separate cottages with cobblestoned pathways between them and each cottage housed a different artisan. There were eating stalls and benches to sit and watch the trees, it was beautiful. One could spend the entire day there moving from cottage to cottage, checking out all the different products being produced by the different artisans, from paintings, jewelry, blown glass bottles, and painted fabrics and much more.


Maybe one day Trinidad will have something like that. We do have some things that someone tries to provide a way for the many vendors in Trinidad to show and sell their wares.   There is the Green Market where, in a very local, natural environment vendors sell local foods, organically made dishes, organically grown produce and other items, such as jewellery, creams, wooden wares, copper items and more. But this is nowhere near as nice as what I saw in San Diego, so we still have a ways to go to have something that nice. Ohhhhh!!!! And I must let you know that I sold 2 pieces at the upmarket.




I am very thankful about this as I don't always sell enough to pay back for the table cost, so I am always grateful and thankful to God when I've sold to cover that expense at least. I also look forward to selling my pieces because I know it will now adorn someone's wall and I will bring satisfaction to their senses. It also means that I can paint more. Another way vendors are able to sell their products is via all the different Upmarkets that different organiser arrange. There is one in the South Land and e few in the East as well as a few in the North. I registered for a few in the East last year but my sales were very low so I haven't booked any tables there this year.




South was OK but again coming down to the end of the year my sales were low and that was a bit disappointing as you normally see great sales close to Christmas. This year I've limited my bookings to the North as the Economy is a bit strained so spending on too many tables and not making back those costs isn't something I can handle right now. I have to choose wisely. Let me show you what I sold. I sold an abstract on canvas panels and two watercolor pieces.  

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The smaller pieces are my favourite. I love doing those. I must say my Watercolor paintings have taken a backseat but I will have to return to it soon to replace the pieces I sold. This is one of the three sold and I really enjoyed painting this.   


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AN ABSTRACT BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

AVAILABLE AS A PRINT

    So that's all for this week. Chat next week Monday and don't forget, Go Check My site and Buy what you love here or visit my second art site at www.gafra.org . Love you guys!!! :  ) 

CHECK OUT MY ARTWORK -Watercolors & ACRYLIC ABSTRACTS 

My First Blog Post

My First Blog Post written September 14, 2017

My First Blog Post written September 14, 2017

Hi guys, had a hectic weekend, with fathers' day on Sunday and me visiting family on the Saturday, so i really didn't get a chance to write anything. I'm posting something I wrote the first time I started blogging. Reading it now, it's pretty funny. It's amazing how your thoughts flow when you first start writing but I must say, it wasn't bad, short and sweet with a dot of info about my country. I'll provide something more substantial on Thursday

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

I'm finally starting up a blogggg!!!. Why? Because everyone's doing it...HaHa... no that's not why. I've finally found a way to share my thoughts with others and to talk about my country and share that with you out there. My home country of Trinidad and Tobago is an amazing place with amazing people. We're a twin Island off the north east tip of Venezula. No we're not part of Venezula. Please don't get confused, google us.

I also wanted a medium to share my art which depicts the different things about Trinidad that captures my attention. From the simple things like traffic jams to the nicer things like our beautiful vegetation, such as bamboo, that surrounds me. I'll mention our food and events of course but my art will be my introduction into the story or blog for that day. So thanks a lot Wordpress and all you wonderful people who take an interest in my blog. I say welcome!!! And Later!!!!

Like i said it was short and sweet but I would now like to add that, for those who follow my blog....thank you and I hope you send me your email so I can send some of my freebies to you. As I mentioned above, I'm an Artist as well as a Leadership Coach. I have two Art sites at www.gafra.org and www.gafra-art.com. there I sell my art prints, printable planners and you can get wall art there as well. If you want my freebies check there as well. I love creating, I'm a leo and a right brain so creativity is my thing. I started off doing watercolours, then branched into acrylics....now I design digital printable planners and I've recently discovered the Bullet Journals (Bujo)....I call my an Art Bullet Journal/Planner (ABUJO), as I do all my scheduling, goal planning, reminders, doodles, drawings, collages, quotes and saying all in this one journal. I simply love it and discovering Washi tapes has been a real joy. They are so much fun and so relaxing to play around with. Google these things or check out more about them on Pinterest.

RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Running your own business (g).png

 

Hi everyone....so last time I talked about how I started my business and as you saw it was a little different from the norm, but in this posts I want to talk about some of the Difficulties you can or might encounter once you do have your own business, and this is strictly from my experience. The main thing that was difficult with having your own business is:

  1. More Effort is Required. Yes, it belongs to you so you better have the passion and enthusiasm and energy to do whatever is required to build your business so that it can sustain itself at some point. I love what I do so that was easy, in the beginning but as you get established and you get older putting out that amount of energy and zest to keep your business is no longer a case of the energy but one of necessity as this is what sustains your life and the life f your family.

  2. Your Time Belongs to the Business. Yes, at first you have to spend most of your time building the business, so you schedule things tightly because you want to deal with as many clients as possible. You spend hours doing all that is needed for the business, organising the website, hiring staff, organising your office, scheduling appointments and meetings and much more.

  3. Ensuring Financial Stability can be Stressful. Yes, you are constantly having to deal with ensuring the income comes in on time or early so that all your expenses can be paid, the main ones being, salaries, material costs, overdrafts etc. This can be a bit stressful when based on how the economy is going, clients hold back on paying or they delay payments, or they take a while to approve proposals etc, and this affects the company's cash flow with which all bills are paid.

  4. Success is not Around the Corner. Though I might post the positive news about my business on social media, the negative parts of running a business are sometimes hidden. From dealing with slow cash flow to product mishaps, I've spent many unglamorous nights lying in bed wondering how I was going to make my company work or handle the issue at that point.

  5. Irritating Government Regulations. When you have your own business you have so many Government regulations to deal with, such as VAT, other taxes, Audits, and any other you aren't familiar with you have to find out about them so that you don't have to pay penalties. You have to be very tax compliant or as mentioned pay the penalties.

  6. Continuous Strategising for Growth. As a Small business owner if you haven’t planned for this increase in customers and product/service production, the business is liable to fall by the wayside. As demand for your business increases, without the proper systems in place, you’re more likely to come up short and fall short of those demands. Planning for the future is a must and if you do nothing you can make some major mistakes.

  7. Hiring Staff is A Chore. I had to go through quite a process to find the right person to hire as my assistant and I'm very intuitive and I saw a few individuals before I hired the 2 who stayed with me, except one, to this day. One or two who were hired left for better salaries but in the end I found an amazing assistant but it is a process and you meet some really weird people.

  8. Loving your Clients. Yes, it isn't always possible to love your clients, not even to like them, but personally I love them. My clients don't stay my clients, they become my friends, partners and my family. I work to be there for them to the best of my abilities and I do have clients who are now my very good friends and I hope they stay that way for years.

  9. Handling the Many No's. Yes, you get a lot of "no's" , or better yet you have to deal with disappointments when you vie for a contract and you lose. You may have to handle the no's that you get when clients try to put you off, or say no to a job they initially agreed to. This a part of business life, the constant fighting for work, trying to beat out the competition, trying to convince clients that what you are selling is something they want and constantly staying in touch with they many potential clients so that you can gain new business.

Generally, business is not always stable, there are good times and really difficult times but you eventually learn how to get better with each passing month, year. In the fifteen years I've run my business, there have been all types of situations that will occur that you have to deal with. When I first started off, on my own, I felt discouraged during times of instability and would often feel stressed, but I've since learned that business will always have it's peaks and valleys. We now try to embrace slower months and use them as an opportunity to recharge and focus on generating new ideas. We work hard to get out of the valleys and the peaks will be even sweeter. We also strongly believe in God, so our faith falls on him to help us deal with the difficult times.


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Business owners are people too and sometimes we get our feelings hurt, not just from the no's but also when clients avoid our appointments or tell us they will do business with us another time. I care about my clients and I will bend over backwards to ensure that they have a good experience, but ever so often, we do encounter a level of rudeness that can sour you but you have to brush it off and tackle that customer at another time. It's all about timing. We sometimes take an entire year before we get a deal with a client and sometimes its instantaneous, but interacting with a business, big or small, you're usually dealing with one person and each client is a living person, they also go through bad days and maybe we caught them at that time, so ignore it and move on, approach them another day.

 

 

Well Somebody Has To Say It....GOT

My Thoughts on the Game of Thrones Series - www.gafra.org

Hi guys…..What am I talking about? Well, I recently completed watching Game of Thrones (GOT)…..GASP!!! Yes. For those of you who are GOT fans and followers, I don’t follow the general bandwagon and rush off like everyone else to watch a movie or read a certain book. I wait to see what happens, I observe, I take my time then if curiosity gets the better of me I might check it out, if not then years later I may stumble upon the said book or movie or show and watch it but NO, I don’t rush to follow the crowd…not with styles, shows, movies or anything else unless it really draws me. And this show pulled a lot of media coverage, fans, popularity, people identifying with certain houses and much more.


So I decided to watch it, to see what all the hype was about, so mainly out of curiosity…. and I have to say I was appalled…yes APPALLED, HORRIFIED, A LEVEL OF DISTASTE, CONCERNED, SAD!!! First of all, to me this series was ridiculous, it was like a reflection of all that is bad in the world rolled into one and placed in a TV series…..Most of the time for me a show either has no storyline so it was a waste of time and money, or despite no storyline it was funny or emotional, or it has a storyline and is all of the above or it’s just to give your mind a rest or to make you think, but this series for me encapsulated all measure of human failings in one show. These are all the hateful things I saw in this series:

  1. Treachery

  2. Lies

  3. Deceit

  4. Dishonesty

  5. Stabbing in the back

  6. Bacchanal

  7. Gossiping

  8. Incest

  9. More incest

  10. Every type of violence

  11. More violence – every way to kill a person

  12. Debauchery

  13. Oppression

  14. Witchcraft

  15. Narcissistic leaders

  16. Oppressive leaders

  17. Leaders with good intentions that turn fanatical

  18. Leaders with good intentions that become egotistical

  19. Serial Killers

  20. Sex

  21. Disrespect for the old or those in authority

  22. Killing of babies

  23. Child assassins

  24. Zombies

  25. Lack of respect for the dead and dying

  26. Magic

  27. Cowardice

What got to me is the fact that people all over the country, the world, love this series so much that they were identifying with the different houses…. I’m the house of the wolf, no I’m in the house of the dragon, etc, etc.. What are we saying? I’m no saint, far from it but to me, we are moving away from a mindset of caring to one of treachery, violence and a lack of value for human life. What is this saying for our humanness?

 
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I remember watching a documentary a long time ago on the film industry and the rules they had about movie making…they indicated that there was a rule that they wouldn’t have any killing of babies or at least not show the act, just imply that it happened….well that has gone straight out the door. Now we see straight out babies being knifed, young kids, killing each other or killing adults, not just in this series but in others and movies. It’s a shame. Does this indicate where man is moving? Kill each other and feel no guilt, or feel nothing at all?



My concern is that there are many people looking for something to connect to or something to identify with and they sometimes use these shows/movies to build an identity. They become fanatical fans….I call them undercover stalkers who try to become some of the characters in the shows. Long ago when I was younger and I went to the cinema to watch a movie…say a Bruce Lee movie….when you left the cinema, you felt like you could fight like Bruce, sometimes outside of the cinema, you even saw young boys or men leave the cinema and start kicking up a lamp post as if it were an opposing enemy come to battle…I laughed then because I understood how they felt, I to felt like I could fight like Bruce and wanted to test my skills on someone or something, but the reality was and is that I can’t, but there are many who believe they can, they fail to face reality, they work had to become like the characters they saw. That is the frightening part, so we end up with stalkers, serial killers, people who harm others because they live in that fantasy world.



I didn’t enjoy this series. I looked at its entirety because I wanted to see the ending and that is what TV series do…they draw you in, hold on to your curiously so that you need to know what happens next and they provide a state where you can escape from reality and life for a few hours. That is fine, and I know many won’t be affected by this show because they may have seen worse but I see different. I see a series that to some extent reflects our humanity or inhumanity and the direction we appear to be heading. The only good aspect of this show was that the “good” family ended up in charge…. thank goodness…but at the expense of the death of many through a series of events which to my mind was nonsensical, and a waste of human life.

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To me this show tried to put every evil, bad, wicked thing in one show to draw peoples attention, keep them involved and then to be honest…the end was a bit flat for me. I felt like it was all a waste of time, energy, waste of people’s lives and mind power. It worked for the filmmakers because they had a humongous splash of fame and interest built up about this show, which was their objective. But I guess such is life and the direction we may be heading in reality - People killing each other, lying to each other, trying to grab power…maybe not in as violent and horrifying a way as depicted in this show but a fight, all the same, to grab power and hold it.



Now I guess, it wouldn’t be fair to say only negatives about the program; there were aspects of some good things. Many times, the good was offset by some level of badness, but there were moments where a few good things shone through for me, now that I think about it:

  1. Human courage

  2. Human faith and determination

  3. Love of family, friends, comrades

  4. Good intentions

  5. Hope

  6. Loyalty

  7. Going after your dream

  8. The Human ability to survive

  9. The power of the tongue

  10. The human ability to strategize

  11. Making Sacrifices for the good of all

  12. Honesty

 
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Green Valley  watermark.png

BUY MY ART, WATERCOLOUR PRINTS AND MORE - HERE


I’m sure you realize that this show affected me greatly….not in the way most would be affected but for me, it was deeper and more concerning in light of man’s humanity. The only other show/movie that affected me this deeply but on the opposite spectrum was “The Matrix”…yes that movie to me reflected a state on consciousness and spirituality that we don’t understand see or realize. For me, that was a spiritual movie but maybe I’ll share my thoughts on that one another time. So I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone who was a real GOT fan and still love it….Nuff Respect…I’m not criticizing your taste, far from it, too many it was great and I respect their opinion, all I’m saying is that for me it was an awful show, targeting and touching on a lot of the bad in people that can and does exist. And a sad thing that…but life is what it is and what we make of it…



Lastly, be careful what you watch, it sinks into the subconscious and then becomes a behavior…. as a coach I deal with people every day and I see and observe a lot of behaviors developed based on conditioning…ask yourself what conditioned you to develop the behavior you have?



Later people, check you soon

How I Started My Business

Read my story at www.gafra.org

Hi guys…. I wanted to share my story on how I started my business. You can find a lot of youtube videos explaining how to start a business….I have to say that’s not how I started my first business which isn’t an online business. I do leadership development and I’ve been a Facilitator for the past 26 years. I started off in the banking system where I was in the HR department and I was a part of the training team, so we did all the training for the bank staff in bank processes. Then the bank expanded its training arm to companies outside of the bank, so I started designing and delivering different programs to these external clients. Some of the areas I facilitated were: - strategic planning, customer service, business planning, time management and more.


So I didn’t get into business the usual way. I resigned from the bank and met the sister of a friend, who was involved in her own business that was linked or licensed by a company in the US. She met with me and I loved the process and I did a program myself and that was it. I became her associate then after attending a conference in California, I loved all that I heard so much that when I returned to Trinidad, I left her, bought my own License to the business and opened my own office.

 
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After setting up my office, some of the clients I worked with followed me and I continued to grow slowly. I made my husband do the program and he also fell in love with the process and the program because we saw how it changed peoples’ lives and he too left the company he was working for at the time, to join me. His boss asked him if he was sure he wanted to go into business with his wife and he said yes because we balance one another so it would definitely work… and thirteen years later, it did. My husband is a beast when it comes to selling a product or service. I was OK, not as great as him but good enough. He is amazing at it. So with his selling ability, my great administrative skills and with both of our amazing facilitation abilities, our business has done well to date. At least we continue to do well enough to take care of our bills and four children.



So starting a business was different for me. While working at the Bank I always felt that something was missing, that I wasn’t working at my greatest capacity. I knew I could do more, and having my own business was the key. It allowed me to drive my business in the direction I wanted, it allowed me to use my creativity and abilities, it built my confidence and it greatest of all I was playing my part in contributing to the family finances and I was around for my kids. I could schedule my appointments around what was happening with the kids and that was major, no more 9 to 5.



With running a business there are areas that will pull a lot from you. It’s yours so you have to put in more energy into it to ensure it runs properly and efficiently. Which we did. You have to sacrifice time until the business has built its credibility to your clients, then your time is yours to schedule as you see fit. You also need to organize your pensions and financial retirement funds yourself, as you don’t have a company doing this for you. This we also did and we can organize it to ensure we have the quantity we think is important when we retire. The difficult side of a business is the difficult decisions you sometimes have to make due to low funds in difficult times. I’ve had to let go of my assistant and do everything myself….no we had two assistants, but we kept my husband’s. He can’t function without her and I can’t give him the type of attention she does. You are constantly watching and monitoring your finances to ensure you can make it through the month…that’s his job…thank God because it can be stressful when you have to follow up with clients to make their payments, or you have to ensure you have your tax payments g=for the year and oh so many more decisions, but I wouldn’t change my decision to open my own business. The freedom is amazing and you feel very empowered. Plus the way companies are going based on our economy, corporate life can be very difficult if you don’t have a strong constitution.


So what do you need to start your business?

Guts – you need to be courageous enough to take risks, despite what others will say to you. I go a lot of negative comments even from my husband, but I was determined to do it in spite of all the cons listed out to me. That takes us to the second area…

Determination – you will need this to fight off all the negative comments from family, friends, peers even kids. Ignore it and think about this next point…

The Plan/Refine your idea. – what is the plan because you must have one. If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. I knew that I needed to know more about this business and so I went out and learned by becoming an associate. So I was still getting paid and learning the business at the same time. This always reminds me of a guy I knew who worked for a furniture store. He was the manager. He learned everything, from how to place orders, who were the vendors, the whole shebang. Then he resigned and opened his own store and factor where he realized instead of importing the furniture it was easier to get artisans here to make similar pieces at a lower cost…..

Know what you’re Selling. Write a Business Plan – are you selling something you’re great at, something you love and are good at, something you have great connections for? What and why doe you want to sell this item or service and how much do you know about it and will you gain customers…Once you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan. A lot of mistakes are made by new businesses rushing into things without pondering these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base. Who is going to buy your product or service? If you can't find evidence that there's a demand for your idea, then what would be the point?

Assess your finances - Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you're planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you start making a profit?

Register your business – Sole trader, Limited liability, unlimited liability, investigate the pros and cons of each.

How do you plan to gain your customers? In my business I listed everyone I knew and would approach and they referred me to others and that is how I got my first clients.

Brand yourself and advertise.Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and get a following of people ready to jump when you open your literal or figurative doors for business.Create a logo that can help people easily identify your brand, and be consistent in using it across all of your platforms, including your all-important company website. Use social media to spread the word about your new business, perhaps as a promotional tool to offer coupons and discounts to followers once you launch. Be sure to also keep these digital assets up to date with relevant, interesting content about your business and industry.

Grow your business - Your launch and first sales are only the beginning of your task as an entrepreneur. In order to make a profit and stay afloat, you always need to be growing your business. It's going to take time and effort, but you'll get out of your business what you put into it.

Running a business has been fun for me and also a lot of work but fulfilling work because it's all mine. If you decide to start your own business, check the pros and the cons and see which works best for you and GO FOR IT!! Check you soon.

What they don't prepare you for when you have a Family

What They Don't Prepare You For When you have a family (g).png

Hey guys....having spent this last weekend with my husband's parents, his siblings and our kids, it made me think about family and some of the things we don't think about when we first meet our partner to be. Whether we're young or old, we meet this person, really get into them, then BAM!!! we're married and along come the kids. That's how it was for me. Met my husband at University, he was my liming buddy and best friend, then later on things changed, I knew would be a great husband the marriage talk came up and BAM!!! I was married but I never really considered children. Marriage seemed like you were hanging out with your best friend all the time but now they didn't have to go home.

Like I said kids weren't in my mind, then BAM!!! I got pregnant on the honeymoon and the kids kept coming. One a year for four years....what a shocker. At first, to be honest, it didn't really register that I had kids, I was so active and running around doing all that was necessary to ensure the family was fine. It's only after the last child that it registered that I had just had a baby and I kinda started to enjoy a baby......crazy huh?


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Yes...I was what is known as very fertile and I didn' get fat ankles or nose or anything. I was even playing cricket and running between wickets with my first baby...I was crazy active for most of them except number four, I guess I was burnt out by then, but I knew it was possible to get pregnant again so I retired the baby maker. So the part no one warns you about is the amount of work we women have to do, taking care if the kids, the husband, the home and the job. Yes, ladies, we are FRIGGING MULTI-TASKERS!!!

I didn't even realise the pace I moved at when the kids were babies when they were 6,5,3 and 2. There was a time we moved from Trinidad to Curacao, we lived there for 2.5 years and my mom and some friends came to visit. My friend who was also my daughter's Godfather was an avid cameraman and video buff so he took videos of everything. 3 or 4 years later after we had returned to Trinidad, we were all together with that same friend (Godfather) and we decided to watch the videos he had taken while visiting us in Curacao and OMG!!! in all of them I was running around like a crazy person, dealing with meals, cleaning up messes, preparing the kids, running around clearing and cleaning. I never rested or sat down once....good God I definitely can't do that now and thank God my kids are big....28, 27, 25 and 24.

Yes, kids are a lot of work but I always say that with every child you are given a blessing, you are given something. I know exactly what I got with each child - a job for my husband with one, a house with the next, a new car with the third and better finances with the last. Children are a blessing and I know in this century this generation is very much into not having as many kids as the former generation. My great grandmother had 6 kids and my aunts all had at least 3-4 kids. These days everyone only wants one or two.

So enjoy your kids and your family because even though no one prepares you for the amount of work it entails, and how it tests your patience, it builds your ability to love unconditionally. Check you soon.

Health, Wellness, and Self-Discipline

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Hi everyone….I’ve been working hard at staying healthy because as I get older I have to keep active so that when I get even older I can have a bearable life. I’ve been seeing recently many friends and family and the way they have changed from robust, strong energetic people to individuals who suffer from all sorts of ailments, from Alzheimer’s to dementia and prostate issues. We all have to consider early o’clock how important it is to do all that will allow you to stay healthy.


To do this takes self-discipline, but even before that, you need to want to stay healthy. You have to want to stay fit and be willing to do what you need to to be healthy. You then have to know what you are willing to do to have the right diet/nutrition, the right weight you should be and the best exercises required to keep you either toned bodily or lose any extra weight that will cause you to be unfit. I started off simply eating right…doing the salads, eating on time, watching the carbs, watching the portions. Now I think I eat properly, so then came exercising, the thing I hate the most. I exercise because I know it’s good for me and as one trainer told me once if you build muscle then when you fall you won’t break a hip or any bones because the muscle helps to cushion the fall.


HEALTH

Let look at what health means. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a body’s constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium called homeostasis. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. This is what most people strive towards but a lot fail to achieve, why? We will look at that later on, for now, let's look at the other aspects of health and Wellness.


WELLNESS

Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to living a higher quality of life. Wellness matters. Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.


PHYSICAL

Physical wellness promotes proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning. There are many elements of physical wellness that all must be cared for together. Overall physical wellness encourages the balance of physical activity, nutrition, and mental well-being to keep your body in top condition. Obtaining an optimal level of physical wellness allows you to nurture personal responsibility for your own health. As you become conscious of your physical health, you are able to identify elements you are successful in as well as elements you would like to improve.

The power of Kettlebell Exercises

The power of Kettlebell Exercises


Understanding the relationship between your body’s physical health and mental health is crucial in order to develop balanced physical wellness. When you take the route to physical wellness you will learn to understand how your body performs physically and be able to connect it to how you feel mentally. Physical wellness encourages the principles of good health and knowledge, which affect behavior patterns that lead to a healthy lifestyle. I have always realized that no matter how tired I am if I take the time to do at least 30 minutes of exercise it gives me a boost so that I have energy the next day.

Below are a few suggestions for you to practice to maintain an optimal level of physical wellness.

  1. Engage in physical activity every day for 30 minutes. You may break up your daily 30 minutes into 10 minutes bouts.

  2. Use stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and walk whenever possible.

  3. Learn to recognize warning signs when your body begins feeling ill.

  4. Eat a variety of healthy foods and control your meal portions.

  5. Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

  6. Practice safe sex.


EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

Emotional wellness inspires self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner strength. It is important to be attentive to both positive and negative feelings and be able to understand how to handle these emotions. Emotional wellness also includes the ability to learn and grow from experiences. Emotional well-being encourages autonomy and proper decision-making skills. It is an important part of overall wellness.


In order to begin the route to emotional wellness, you must always remember to be optimistic. Optimism allows you to greet all emotions—both positive and negative—with a confident attitude that allows you to learn from your mistakes. Once you have mastered emotional wellness, you will experience life a little differently. Your life will be more balanced and you will develop a deep sense of awareness. Below are some strategies for you to practice in order to boost your emotional wellness.

  • Remind yourself to stay positive, always.

  • Seek or accept help and support from others when needed.

  • Employ gratitude to your life in order to strengthen relationships with family and friends.

  • Practice being mindful and increase your awareness. This can be done through various forms of meditation.

  • Accept mistakes and learn from them for next time. Mistakes are not terrible experiences; they are learning experiences.

  • Balance your other dimensions of Wellness.



OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESS

Occupational wellness inspires us to prepare for work in which we will gain personal satisfaction and find enrichment in our lives. Your attitude about work is a crucial influence on occupational development. Occupational wellness allows you to explore various career options and encourages you to pursue the opportunities you enjoy the most. This dimension of wellness recognizes the importance of satisfaction, enrichment, and meaning through work.

When you embark on the route to occupational wellness, you will discover what occupational opportunities are out there and which opportunities suit you best. Maintaining occupational wellness allows you to develop unique skills and talents that are both personally and professionally rewarding. Below are some suggestions to begin your journey to occupational wellness.

  1. Reflect on yourself and your occupational needs. What occupational tasks do you enjoy? What occupational tasks do you find burdensome?

  2. Explore both paid and unpaid work and volunteer opportunities that interest you.

  3. Practice open communication and proper conflict management with your colleagues.

  4. Set realistic career goals for yourself and constantly work towards accomplishing these goals.

SPIRITUAL WELLNESS

Spiritual wellness allows us to be in tune with our spiritual selves. This realm of wellness lets us find meaning in life events and define our individual purpose. Spiritual wellness can be defined through various factors including religious faith, values, ethics, and morals. Regardless of whether you believe in a particular religious faith, there is always something to be learned about how you see yourself in the world.

The way to spiritual wellness is something you must learn to master on your own. Spiritual wellness strongly emphasizes the importance of building inner resources and inner thoughts in order to give meaning to experience. It is also important to know that spiritual wellness does not mandate you to pick up a religious practice. However, religion may be one route you may take to boost your spiritual wellness. I believe in God seeing as I am a Catholic, so Jesus is the core of my life and the rock upon which I live my life. God is good to me and he blesses me in every way so I give my thanks and praise to him. You need to find what you believe in and what drives your spirituality.

Below are some recommendations for you to practice in order to maintain an optimal level of spiritual wellness.

  1. Explore your inner self. Take time to think about who you are.

  2. If you experience a life-changing event, take a few minutes to think about what series of events led to this.

  3. Spend time meditating or practicing mindful relaxation.

  4. Practice acceptance.

  5. Be curious. If something happens that makes you even the slightest bit curious, take a moment to explore the experience a little deeper.

  6. Look for a religious faith that you agree with.

SOCIAL WELLNESS

Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times. Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you. Conscious actions are important in learning how to balance your social life with your academic and professional lives. Social wellness also includes balancing the unique needs of romantic relationships with other parts of your life.

As you begin your route to social wellness, you will discover that you have the power to enhance your personal relationships. Maintaining social wellness allows you to practice empathy and active listening. There are many ways you can begin your journey on the route to social wellness. Below are some suggestions on how to enhance your social wellness.

  • Reflect on yourself and your social needs. What aspects of your social life do you enjoy? What parts would you like to improve?

  • Make an effort to keep in touch with supportive friends and family.

  • Practice self-disclosure.

  • Participate in group discussions and practice active listening.

  • Join a club or organization.

When we have all of these areas decided we still have to look at ourselves and be open and honest with ourselves about our level of self-discipline. Self-discipline is what drives us to stay focused on achieving our wellness. One needs to be consistent and not be distracted by any obstacles that stand in our way. We should have the discipline to continue, have a plan, be determined to achieve our wellness goals and thereby stay healthy.

SELF-DISCIPLINE

At the heart of any successful person and a person's achievement of their goals, is self-discipline. Whether it’s success in their personal lives or their professional lives, it all starts with an inherent ability for self-control through discipline. Your thoughts. Your emotions. Your behaviors. And your habits. All of them must be kept in check. To develop discipline they needed to understand what are the habits they have that prevent them from being more disciplined.

Despite what many may think, self-discipline is a learned behavior. It requires practice and repetition in your day-to-day life. To improve your own self-discipline, test out these 5 proven methods for gaining better control.

Habits: The Pathway to Self-Discipline

Considering that so much of what we do on a daily basis is habit-driven, developing the right habits will help to instill the right amount of discipline into our lives. But where do habits come from and how are they developed? And why is that when we try to change our habits by either breaking bad habits or building good habits, we only follow through for so long before we give up and revert to our old ways?

You, therefore, need to change those bad habits that aren’t working for you. How do you start? This regimen will help you to establish good habits, break bad ones, and improve your control by making simple changes to your everyday routine.

  • 1 - Start Small

  • 2 - Identify What You Want to Do Differently

  • 3 – Meditation

  • 4 – Active Goal Setting

  • 5 - Remove temptations

  • 6 - Eat regularly. Eat Healthily

  • 7 - Don’t wait for it to “feel right.”

  • 8 - Schedule breaks, treats, and rewards for yourself

  • 9 - Forgive yourself and move forward

  • 10 – Persistence

  • 11 - Make Use of Technology

If your goal is a fit lifestyle with a healthy weight, regular exercise, serious walking, and restful sleep each night, trackers exist to help you. Track all that you do, via using wellness apps like Fitbit which connects with other devices to automatically capture your health data.

Reference:

  • UCDavis – Student Health & Counseling Services

Who Are The People Around Me?

Who Are the people around me (g).png

Hi everyone....check this out....

WYF Upmarket May 2019

WYF Upmarket May 2019

My Artwork on display at the WYF Upmarket in Trinidad May 2019

My Artwork on display at the WYF Upmarket in Trinidad May 2019

Hi everyone, this weekend I was at an Upmarket, better known as a Fleamarket, but here we pay for a table and you're able to sell your products, whatever they may be. I set up my table to sell my artwork. I had done quite a few landscapes, in a challenge I gave myself. They were painted quickly to ensure the easy flow of the watercolor.

I did fairly well in that I sold 3 pieces. This post though is about the people I was surrounded by. At this market, we greet each other with hugs and glee especially if we haven't seen each other in a whole or if you haven't been to the upmarket in months. I realized that I really liked most of the vendors at this market, some more than others. We are people of like objectives.

We all create something we love, enjoy or are passionate about. Some of us do this on the side, for some this is our only means of making a living and for some this our second business. We talk shop, we share information, we share goods, and we help each other. I got help to sell one of my pieces. A woman showed interest in one of my pieces, she asked if I had a credit card machine but I didn't so she left. I asked one of the other vendors if there was anyone who had a machine that I could use and they indicated Johan.

I know Johan and I liked him, he was really cool and very hip. So I asked him if he would let me use his machine to sell my art and he said no problem, so I looked for the woman, went up to her and told her that if she was still interested, then i had a credit card machine.

She was still interested, so we went to Johan to do the transaction. While he did the transaction I conversed with the woman, she was very nice and we talked about the daughter she planned to surprise with the art piece.

After the sale, Johan gave me the cash and I had to go to home for my second sale, and again he was most accommodating. You have to understand that these transactions cost, then you have to get the money to the person. Johan takes 5% but he is right to do this as he has to pay a fee for every transaction. This is just one example of the connection between everyone we are a family in this upmarket and although we don't know each other intimately, we are still close.


We are all in this to get our products to the customer, to make money to live or to make money to give us the acknowledgment that what we have created is worth something. There are vendors who create their own soaps, creams, artwork, gluten-free food, clothes, woodwork, jewelry, and more. It's an amazing thing to see, all these creatives in one place all in one accord. I love it, it's very inspiring and fun.

There is one downsize sometimes. You get a little jealous when you see others making sales and you aren't, yet on the other side, you are very glad that they're getting some sales as we all want the other to do well. What you learn from this short burst of jealousy and even a level of demotivation is that you have to build a high level of faith. In yourself, your work, your determination and your persistence in getting your work/product out there.

Faith in your product and hope that customers will get to know you, love your work and then buy from you. I grew to realise that although I don't make a sale that day, I will make a sale at another time. During one period I wasn't making sales for quite a while and it was tough to stay positive and I almost stopped painting, then God stepped in and I was invited to an event at my old school and there I made enough to make up for the 3 other Upmarkets where I didn't make any money, not even my table cost. You have to be strong, determined and love what you do so that despite the down times you keep going because you're determined to share your product/artwork with those who love it (when they realise that they do) , that's why I keep doing this.

So who are the people around me?...Family who encourages me to keep painting, my husband who is my biggest fan, my friends who buy my work and support me, my fellow artisans who encourage, motivate, are your fans and also buy your work...yes we tend to buy from each other not just for support, or because we want to encourage buying local but because we truly love each others' products. I buy my herbal tea from a friend, perfumed oils from another who makes it herself, gluten free food and deserts from one and jewellry from another. I get everything I want and really like that is of quality at these markets. That is why they are valuable and I surround myself with these people. I hope you surround yourself with people who build you up, support you, encourages you and is your biggest fan. Check youlater,

Luv you all

 Gafra

Why is it so Hot??!!!

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Hi everyone..... well lucky for me today, my afternoon appointment was canceled. Yes, I'm an Artist on the side and apart from painting, I run my own Leadership Development Business alongside my husband. Anyway, I ended up free for the entire day, except for the telephone interview I have to do at 9:00am, sooooo.....what did I decided to do? My daughter and I decided to do breakfast at Starbucks then later we would have lunch at one of our best Malls.....The Falls at West Mall. We also did some work while in Starbucks as she is writing a book and she takes every opportunity to write a chapter. While she does that I write this post as well as complete some reports I have for work.

It's nice ever so often to work outside of the office and luckily for me, I can do that, especially if I don't have any appointments. I also tend to use my time at these coffee houses to create some more products for my websites and my Etsy shop. I completed another planner last night at home and I know it will help a lot of people as soon as people realise what they can do.

 
Professional Business Planner at www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint
Elegant Time Management Planner available at gafra.org or www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I went off track there. When I got home last night, I zoned out working on the New Problem Solver planner then it started to rain, which was odd as lately rain has been pretty scarce. In fact these days it is so hot I've been pretty dehydrated because I'm not a great water drinker. everywhere is dry and I think this has been the worst dry season we've had. Normally it is bad but this year the water levels have been so low that they are now scheduling when different communities will receive water. I went through years of not having enough water to fill the 2 small tanks I had. My house was littered with water containers in every corner or cranny I could fit one. It took us a few years before I got really fed-up with bathing in a bucket or not having enough water to wash clothes, or not having the water truck arrive to replenish my tanks. So finally we bought 4 huge tanks and to date, we no longer have to wonder when water was returning or if there was enough water in our tanks.

Compared to last year when the dry season was bad but not too bad, then the rainy season arrived and the rain was crazy. Last year, we had the worst rainy days EVER due to tropical depressions. It rained almost every day in a 3 weeks period. It was so bad those few months and especially the last week of the rainy season month, that people's houses were flooded out and they had to be rescued. It was bad!! My assistant lost everything as did a lot of other people/clients, plus one or two of my friends...and I mean they lost fridges, stoves, entire living room sets, vehicles, etc.

Fortunately, in times like these people come together to help and give. There were drives everywhere to get items to those in need. We persevered and people were re-instated. But some homes couldn't be saved and that is the difficult part. In comparison, with the dry season, we have to be very wary of the bush fires. One man has already lost his life when the bush fire spread and consumed his house while he lay asleep. Very sad and unfortunate situation.

What is interesting though, is despite this dry season where everything looks dry and barren when the rains arrive, and they will soon, the vegetation changes back to being as green as ever as if it was never dry. This island just amazes me with the weather changes that occur. But right now this place can get pretty warm even at night. This brings me to a piece I did one weekend when the weather was a bit dismal and foggy. Yes, I said foggy. I live in a valley that is surrounded by mountains so when it rains and the temperature drops it gets very misty in the mornings. It is so lovely and cozy. I love it. Do you see what I mean when I say the weather here can be so different at different times? Dry, breezy and brittle one time, rainy and foggy at another time, cool and breezy some other month.

The piece is called "Rainy Day in Santa Cruz". It has a somber look but I hope you like it. Any feedback is welcomed. Don't be too brutal though. Thanks.

 
Rainy Day in Santa Cruz.

Rainy Day in Santa Cruz

Watercolour painting I did.


Going back to the bad dry, hot, sunny weather. It's also very interesting that while some have been devastated due to fires, there are others who go on with their everyday lives and are untouched by all the chaos and calamity. Life is funny that way. Some get hit hard and others don't.

Is it that we need to learn something when these things happen? Or is it a message from the great God above? Or does he want us to think about how we're treating with the environment and is there a reason for the insane, confusing changes in the weather patterns? One thing is for sure...at these times it pushes home the question...Why is the dry season so bad, why is the rainy season so different and starting earlier followed by major flooding. And why is everything seem to be getting worst? What isn't something being done or is there anything we can do in the first place?

I know that here in Trinidad we need to be more considerate of our environment. Trinidadians treat the environment very badly. Trash is an issue, with the indiscriminate dumping, so watercourses are strewn with garbage. I hope their level of awareness improves at some point because I saw a documentary recently called Our Earth, and I was appalled by the information on the melting of the ice caps and how this is causing the increase the heat because the ice caps act as reflectors of the sun so there is less heat so less melting but when they start to melt more than there are more open water (black) patches which absorbs the sun's heat. The heat melts more icecaps etc. Melted ice caps affect the creatures that other larger animals feed on so they start to die off and the cycle continues until it reaches a point of scarcity for man. The heat of our planet also rises and there is also increased melting of the icecaps which causes increased floods or really horrific floods.heat of the sun the level of heat in the world, animals which in turn affects the human race.


Global Climate change

You may have heard about global warming. It seems that in the last 100 years the earth's temperature has increased about half a degree Celsius. This may not sound like much, but even half a degree can have an effect on our planet. Scientists who assess the planet's health see indisputable evidence that Earth has been getting warmer, in some cases rapidly. Most believe that human activity, in particular, the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, have influenced this warming trend. In the past decade, scientists have documented record-high average annual surface temperatures and have been observing other signs of change all over the planet: in the distribution of ice, and in the salinity, levels, and temperatures of the oceans.


Melting Ice Caps

Melting Ice Caps

Scientists point out that sea levels have risen and fallen substantially over Earth's 4.6-billion-year history. But the recent rate of global sea level rise has departed from the average rate of the past two to three thousand years and is rising more rapidly—about one-tenth of an inch a year. A continuation or acceleration of that trend has the potential to cause striking changes in the world's coastlines. This higher temperature may be causing some floating icebergs to melt, but this will not make the oceans rise.

But the rising temperature and icebergs could play a small role in the rising ocean level. Icebergs are chunks of frozen glaciers that break off from landmasses and fall into the ocean. The rising temperature may be causing more icebergs to form by weakening the glaciers, causing more cracks and making ice mo­re likely to break off. As soon as the ice falls into the ocean, the ocean rises a little. Rising sea level produces a cascade of effects. Bruce Douglas, a coastal researcher at Florida International University, calculates that every inch (2.5 centimeters) of sea-level rise could result in eight feet (2.4 meters) of the horizontal retreat of sandy beach shorelines due to erosion. Furthermore, when salt water intrudes into freshwater aquifers, it threatens sources of drinking water and makes raising crops problematic.

Melting Ice Caps

Melting Ice Caps

Oceans, in effect, mimic some functions of the human circulatory system. Just as arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the extremities, and veins return blood to be replenished with oxygen, oceans provide life-sustaining circulation to the planet. Propelled mainly by prevailing winds and differences in water density, which changes with the temperature and salinity of the seawater, ocean currents are critical in cooling, warming, and watering the planet's terrestrial surfaces—and in transferring heat from the Equator to the Poles. Oceans are important sinks, or absorption centers, for carbon dioxide, and take up about a third of human-generated CO2.

How to Fight Climate Change

A single molecule of CFC-12 can hold nearly 11,000 times the heat of carbon dioxide, making it an extraordinarily potent greenhouse gas. CFCs hold the same heat as the carbon dioxide emissions from burning 16 million gallons of gasoline. Last year, a coalition of scientists and policy experts at the nonprofit Drawdown ranked the top one hundred climate change solutions by level of impact. No one guessed that refrigerant management, which includes CFCs and two other classes of chemicals known as HCFCs and HFCs, would top the list. But it did. The Drawdown study estimated that properly disposing of old refrigerants, rather than letting them leak into the air, would be equivalent to preventing nearly 90 gigatons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere. That’s more than 17 years of U.S. CO2 emissions.

So the science is clear: cleaning up the world’s legacy CFCs would help prevent additional greenhouse gases from further changing the climate. Yet actually doing this, particularly in developing countries, is still being worked out, thanks to financial and logistical challenges.

Human activities are causing climate change and polluting the environment to such a degree that the future looks bleak indeed. However, it’s vital to remember that humans can turn it around if they work together and plan for a better future. Rather than feeling pessimistic and helpless, there are simple things that each person can do that can help. Collectively, those small actions make a significant impact as our society realizes the importance and necessity of going green.

Recycling: It’s not just for plastics

Most people with an interest in going green are actively recycling. In addition to recycling the usual items like paper, plastic, and glass, we can recycle things like used motor oil, used batteries, used tires, and even appliances, electronics, light bulbs, and furniture. The best part is it can be as simple as making a purchase at a store that offers a recycling service. For appliances, you can try calling local small appliance repair shops. If they aren’t interested in obtaining the items for parts themselves, then they will likely know who will.

Simple ways to conserve water

Trinidadians waste water even when we do have it. Plus there are the leaking road pipes and more. But consider you can save 80 gallons of water each week, just by turning off the water while you brush your teeth! Pretty remarkable, right? And it couldn’t be simpler.

Another relatively simple way to conserve water is simply to repair leaky plumbing like toilets, faucets, and sinks. Making repairs to those items can seem daunting, but may be much simpler than you think, and will prevent big expensive home repairs in the future.

Reduce chemical use

Consumers have much more power than they give themselves credit for. We can all influence what corporations do by choosing to buy products that are better for the environment. If you have the option, choose biodegradable, natural products. By doing so, it keeps some of the harsh and toxic chemicals from entering water supplies.

Other simple ideas for going green:

  • Ride in a carpool to work

  • Ride your bike if possible

  • Take public transportation

  • Buy a hybrid or electric car

  • Slow down to save on gas

  • Compost your table scraps

  • Grow your own food

  • Buy from your local farmers market

  • Landscape with drought-resistant native plants

  • Choose plants that help native wildlife

I hope that we all can make a great effort to change our environment and therefore save the earth, our planet. We take our planet for granted but we need to be more aware that it is a living thing, with the water courses are its arteries and vegetation are its nerve endings, animals and people, the Planet's cells. This is my view of the environmental and the planet. We need to love it, take care of it and it will take care of us.

References:

  • National Geographic: The big Thaw by Daniel Glick

  • If the polar ice caps melted, how much would the oceans rise by Marshall Brain

  • One overlooked way to fight climate change? Dispose of old CFCs by Juli Berwald

  • Simple ways everyone can move toward a greener, more prosperous future today by Green and Growing

I Don't Want a Job

Hers why?

Hers why?

Hi guys....yes...I mean what I said above. I don't want a job. No, I'm not lazy.....welllll, I am sometimes, as is everyone at some point. No I know we all need to work human beings are built to work..." by the sweat of thy brow".....so we gotta make the money to pay the bills to be able to do all the other things we want to.

What I'm talking about is the fact that we are all....or at least most of us here in Trinidad and I think the world.... we are brought up to go to school, do well maybe get more education then get a job while looking for the wife or the husband then settle down and live until retirement then die. Noooooope.... that just wasn't enough for me....there must be more to it than that.

I especially felt that there was more than just doing a job. I did...or started off doing what everyone else does in my country because thats what our parents did and their parents before them. I went to school, did ok, got my qualifications, got the job, met the man then had the kids and then settled down towards retirement.....ur nope...back up a bit.

I didn't stay in the job until retirement. I always felt and knew there was more to it than that, plus I didn't feel like I wasn't reaching my full potential, so resigned. I know and believe that you don't have to work for a company to be happy or to survive. I knew that wasn't enough for me, so what did I do?

I resigned without knowing if there was a job available for me. But in doing this, it forced me to scrutinise myself and list out what was my true ability. What am I great at? Know this, I set out to find another job but one where I was fulfilling me. I found it in a contract where I worked to my own time, made the money and then had half of the day to do anything else I wanted.


I, therefore, got involved in my hobby, which was interior decorating. So while I was a Program Coordinator for a company from 8 to 22noon with the rest of my day I got involved working with an interior decorator as her assistant and I started teaching myself online, photoshop. Why? Because one company we liaised with I noticed that their website was a mess, so I offered to update their site for them.

They agreed and I taught myself....by using Youtube...how to design a website.....and I think I did a pretty good job based on that period and they still have that website to this day. Plus, I also made some money, while at the same time working part-time with the interior decorator. I was having a ball!!!!

I was still using my business skills, doing my hobby and loving it and also using my creative skill to design websites. I eventually ended up offering to upgrade the website of the company I worked with part-time in addition to being their coordinator. God is good and life was great. Who could ask for more, this was the life!!!

The Interior Decorator asked me to come work with her full time after assisting her for a few months and I did. Again, a great decision, I had an even greater time. Working with joiner/carpenter and seeing furniture the clients chose to be transformed from mare pieces of wood to gorgeous, well-made pieces of furniture that you knew would last a lifetime.

In this job, I felt to some extent that I had a level of freedom, unlike the Bank job. I was again in my creative element, designing kitchens, living room layouts, etc. The best of times. I traveled to design and outfit a house in Curacao, it was heaven and gave me the taste to know that I needed to be doing a job that I love. I stayed on this job for 2.5 years but as with everything with small family companies, you can go only so far.

I knew it was time to move on and that was because I met the sister of a friend who told me about this business I'm in now, which is leadership coaching. I knew immediately that this is what I needed to be doing and also where God wanted me to be, so I said goodbye to my boss who I really loved and became an associate with my friend's sister. I stayed with her for 2 years then moved out on my own because again I felt I wanted to own my own business, make my own decisions, go in my own direction, I wanted to soar and achieve my goals.

I opened my own business in 2004, set up my office, started my licensed leadership facilitator and that's what I and my husband do still. I steered my kids to know that I don't expect them to go the traditional route. It's up to them to take their lives where they want to take their lives. The decision was theirs. I didn't dictate what they should do or become because I feel I know what's best for them because of any difficulties I or my parents may have encountered in their lives.

No! I'm there to support, guide and help them achieve their dreams. They don't have to work for a company or someone else. They can have their own business, be an entrepreneur, innovator, business owner, and that's exactly what all four of my kids did. They are all doing what they love and they all have their own businesses that they are working hard to grow. They know what they want and the direction they want to go. I am proud and pleased with my kids.

I don't want a job, I want to work at something I love, that feeds me and feeds others. The corporate world has its issues, I see them every day but I love my role of going in to help not just the organization but the individuals themselves. I love people no matter what type of personality they may have, but I will call it as I see it.

If they aren't performing as they should but its something they need help with, simply because they have to get organized, then I'm their person. Within organizations, I meet people with a lot of internal challenges that they are far too close to to see the situation and ask themselves the right questions to be able to solve their problems, that's where I step in, and all with love and the call to get them back to wholeness.

So I don't want a job, I want to do my own thing at my own pace, in my own way, to help others find their potential and find whatever they might be looking for or what they want to become. These are my thoughts on that whole job thing.....if you agree, let me know if you have a different view let me know. I'm interested to hear what you've got to say on the matter.

Later, luv you guys.



HOW TO START A LIFESTYLE BLOG

How to start a lifestyle blog (g).png

Hi everyone....I have to admit that for the past few weeks I've been totally dry when it comes to writing my next post. I felt like I had writer's block, but in listening to the famous Seth Godin, where he said that there is no such thing as writers' block because once you can talk there is always something to talk about and if there is something to talk about then there is something to write about. I am a woman after all and as most men like to insinuate....women are talkers, so here goes.


Blogging


I've been wondering what is the key objective of my blog because every article I've read on Pinterest says that you need to know what is the objective of your blog and if you plan to or want to monetize that the blog then you definitely need to choose a niche and one area of specialty, but I don't really want to go in that direction. As I've always stated I want this blog to be my medium to express my thoughts, feelings, opinions, ideas and more. I want to share what I've learned in all the different areas that I've encountered or had to use to be able to accomplish some means/end/goal.


The unique Elegant Problem Solver Planner only available at www.gafra.org at my Etsy Shop at www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint

Monetising my blog has now become secondary. I want to share knowledge, share what I've learned for different skills. If one is starting a blog what are the key things one needs to do to start, but firstly what is a blog?

In short, a blog is a type of website that focuses mainly on written content, also known as blog posts. In popular culture, we most often hear about news blogs or celebrity blog sites, but as you’ll see in this guide, you can start a successful blog on just about any topic imaginable.

Bloggers often write from a personal perspective that allows them to connect directly with their readers. In addition, most blogs also have a “comments” section where readers can correspond with the blogger. Interacting with your readers in the comments section helps to further the connection between the blogger and the reader.

At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier.

 

To be a successful blogger one must be passionate about one's topic

  • Make money from home

  • Share your story.

  • Recognition for yourself or your business.

  • Find a community


How to Start a Blog (on the Side) in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Pick Your Blog's Name and Domain.

  2. Find a Hosting Provider - Bluehost, Siteground, GoDaddy

  3. Choose a Blogging Platform - like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix , Site builder

  4. Find Your Niche and Decide What to Blog About.

  5. Choose a Theme and Design Your Blog.

  6. Create Your Essential Pages (About, Contact, Blog)

  7. Develop Your Content Strategy.


Blogging platforms www.gafra.org

Blogging platforms www.gafra.org

The best blogging platforms for beginners.

  1. WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the world's most popular blogging software.

  2. Wix. Wix is a hosted platform to build websites.

  3. Gator by HostGator.

  4. WordPress.com.

  5. Blogger.

  6. Tumblr.

  7. Medium.

  8. Squarespace

Chose your platform, then get started on your blog

Chose your platform, then get started on your blog

Eight best free blogging sites to consider in 2019

  1. WordPress (www.wordpress.org) Best for…people who want to 100% own their blog and customize it.

  2. Wix (www.wix.com)

  3. Medium (www.medium.com)

  4. Ghost (www.ghost.org)

  5. Blogger (www.blogger.com)

  6. Tumblr (www.tumblr.com)

  7. Weebly (www.weebly.com)

  8. Joomla (www.joomla.org)



Getting More Views and Traffic

  1. Help search engines find your site.

  2. Blog regularly.

  3. Use Keywords On Your Site.

  4. Use appropriate tags.

  5. Connect to the Community & Spread the Word.

  6. Read and comment on other blogs.

  7. Share on Social Media.

  8. Bug your real-life friends.

Creative Blog Post Ideas

  • Do A (Number) By A (Certain Age) Post.

  • Put Together A Gif-Filled Post.

  • What Would You Love To Learn How To Do?

  • Write A Parody Post Of Some Sort.

  • Set Up A Contest On Your Blog.

  • Use Questions On Forums As Blog Ideas.

  • Find The Best Jokes In Your Niche And Share Them In A Blog Post.

I went through continuous research to be able to start my blog. With my first blog, I didn't know much about how to share it online. I created it on Wordpress but I didn't know about or how to create the covers (which are easily done in Canva, photoshop, picmonkey) or know how to share it properly. Now I have a blog I enjoy sharing and I also enjoy writing and spreading my thoughts. As mentioned all the research also preaches that your blog should be a business as well, or you ask yourself if you want more from your blog.


VISIT MY STORE - TEAPRINT

Well lately, although initially, I wanted to monetize my blog, I've been totally turned off by the barrage of emails from people I started to follow trying to get me to buy into a course of some sort. I'm also tired of the blogs that have interesting headings but only give you a minuscule drop of info then a barrage of sales commentary. HATE IT!!! Now if a blog doesn't keep my interest with interesting writing, but is filled with sales talk, I move on. I love what Seth Godin said about permission marketing. Don't be shoving the sales, get to know your readers and I add that If they want to buy, great but if not, no problem, once they enjoyed reading what I shared. I will offer my planners and my art because I am an Artist first and foremost. That to me was the traditional objective of a blog and I'm going that route.

Check you on Thursday and hope you get where I'm coming from.

 

Reference

  • ryrob.com

  • the blogstarter


Holidays Galore....Now its Easter

Easter In Trinidad, our traditions at gafra.org

Hi Everyone......It's Easter and as usual in this country we have a few back to back holidays coming up. We have Friday to Monday off.  This Monday I'll be running around with my mom as she is 78 years and I use Mondays to help her do all the tasks she needs done that she wasn't able to get done during the week..You know how that goes. So we are having another holiday on Friday. Yea!!!!!  In Trinidad and Tobago we have lots of holidays, we had one two weeks ago and we have another one this week. Friday is Good Friday, a Religious Holiday. We have a very mixed culture of religions here and its the best. We have Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Hindu, Moslems, Mormons, and many more.

There are lots of traditions that are followed with this holiday. Many masses and Lenten resolutions and no eating of meat etc. The Lenten season or Lent as it is widely known begins on the Wednesday after Carnival, known as Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday, the last day of the Holy Week. Many Christians observe Ash Wednesday by attending church services nationwide, where ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on their forehead to symbolize repentance before God. Lent is observed for forty days as a time of fasting and prayer in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

HOLY WEEK


Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, one week before Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem, where people waved palms and laid them on the ground along his path. In Trinidad and Tobago, many churches observe this event by the distribution of palm leaves to followers during Palm Sunday services. On Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, the Roman Catholic Church in particular retraces the steps of Christ on his journey to crucifixion. This is called the Stations of the Cross. There are church services throughout the rest of weekend, ending with the largest celebrations occurring on Easter Sunday.

Our Traditions for Easter are as follows:

Hot Cross Buns


Hot Cross Buns a typical tradition in Trinidad

Hot Cross Buns a typical tradition in Trinidad

 

We try to get a hot cross buns on Good Friday then good luck! Most bakeries would have been sold out from the night before. In Trinidad and Tobago hot cross buns on Good Friday are a staple. The tradition dates back to the 12th century when an Anglican monk baked buns and marked them with a cross in honour of Good Friday. There is no clear reason why and when it became so popular.

Beat De Bobolee

One dying tradition on Good Friday is the beating of the “bobolee”, an effigy, symbolic of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ. Like everything in Trinidad, this has taken a complete turn of its own. People now design “bobolees” as politicians who are not favoured in the society or even as social outcasts from their specific communities.

Good Friday Meals

Fish must be cooked on Good Friday because Catholic doctrine prohibits eating fleshy meat on Good Friday. Since it commemorates the day that Christ sacrificed his flesh it would be seen as disrespectful to consume “flesh” on the anniversary of His death. Not all Trinidadians are Catholics, but this is still commonly observed in many Trini homes. Eating the seafood with “ground provision” such as yams, cassava, dasheen, and eddoes is also traditional.

Flying Kites

The tradition of making your own kite for an Easter Sunday kite flying competition has become entrenched in Trinidadian culture. The practice began as a religious event, with the kites being made to look like a cross and meant to represent Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. Traces of religious symbolism have been all but lost now, but colourful squares battling against the wind on Easter Sunday is still a comfortingly familiar sight.

Going to the Beach

It seems like Trinbagonians celebrate everything by going to the beach, for obvious reasons. The beach is awesome.

Hope you learned a little more about my beautiful culture of Trinidad & Tobago.

 

 

Typical beach lime as part of our Easter Trinidad Tradition

Typical beach lime as part of our Easter Trinidad Tradition