What is the key to having a stress-free holiday? In your mind, you imagine an idyllic setting, cocktail in hand watching the waves lap onto the sand. It sounds relatively relaxing, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Your holiday may be providing you with time away from work, but in reality, it may also be adding to your anxiety.
So how can you overcome the stress and let your hair down?
The key to having a stress free holiday
The most important thing you need to realise when planning your holiday is that not everything will be perfect. Real life does not always mirror the colorful brochures you see in the travel agency. One trick to enjoying your vacation is to understand that things CAN and DO go wrong. It is time to lower your expectations down a notch.
Enjoy each moment for what it brings
So, your plane is delayed; but, at least you are on the plane! Your luggage is temporarily lost; but, at least it gives you an opportunity to buy a new outfit in the meantime. Your meal is not as delicious as you had hoped; but, at least you don’t have to wash the dishes! Change the narrative in your head from a negative perspective to a positive one and enjoy each moment.
Allow plenty of time to do nothing
It may sound a little dull for those who like endless adventure and excitement, but to get into the stress-free mode, you need time to unwind. Keep your itinerary flexible to maintain control of your days. If you want to sleep in, you can. If you feel the need to relax in the bath with a glass of wine, give yourself permission.
Leave the guilt at the door
Guilt can be a huge issue when you take your vacation. Shouldn’t you be working? Absolutely not! Leave the guilt at the door, switch the phone off and add an automated reply to your emails. They will still be there waiting for you on your return.
Don’t believe the hype
Not every destination lives up the hype, and not everyone loves each place they visit. Remember to keep those expectations in check and be realistic. Perhaps the beach resort is not as quiet as you imagined! Even if you don’t love 100% of your holiday, there will still be many magical moments that you can focus on.
Life does not stop when you are on vacation
Unfortunately, life will not stop while you are on vacation and you cannot control every aspect of your vacation life, work life and home life. Trying to micromanage everything will send your thoughts into a tailspin. Maintain your focus on your holidays. And if you do have to check in at work or home, loosen the reins a little to minimise the worry.
You can’t keep everyone happy all of the time
More and more people are giving up their vacations for overtime pay. However, vacations are a necessary part of life and will help you refresh and recharge, so you perform better at work and life in general. Taking time away for a holiday may not suit everyone – and that’s okay. The key to having a stress free vacation is realising that the only person you need to concern yourself about is you (and your travel companions) – the rest will take care of itself.
If you are seeking a legal representative, here is a list of the most important things you should do when choosing a lawyer. While money is a huge factor, not everything comes down to the cost. A lawyer represents many of the biggest hurdles you have to overcome in your lifetime. Therefore, it is vital that you choose one that is the right fit for you.
The most important things you should do when choosing a lawyer
Selecting the right lawyer will boil down to asking the right questions in your initial visit or telephone call. Presuming that each lawyer is the same is the equivalent of thinking that a steak restaurant is going to serve you up a plate of sushi. Each lawyer has their own specialty and area of expertise that you need to be made aware of. So what questions, should you put to them?
Do they practice in your field of expertise?
Depending on your legal requirements, you first need to see if they deal with similar situations such as yours. A lawyer to help buy your house will be different to criminal law, as an example. When you make contact, explain exactly why you need a lawyer. Then confirm if it is something that they or someone in their office can handle.
If they can’t help you, can they recommend someone else?
If they cannot assist you, is there anyone else they can recommend? Getting a referral from a professional in the industry may be worthwhile in your particular circumstances. Perhaps they know of someone who specializes in the necessary field or has been down this road before. The worst thing they will say is no, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Do they charge a flat rate or by the hour?
Most lawyers will charge one of two ways. The first will be at an hourly rate, dependent on their experience. The second, less common, method is via a flat rate; so no matter how long it takes for them to complete the task, the fee will be the same. Make sure you check whether there are any additional charges included such as couriers, filing fees, photocopies, etc.
Are they available to answer any questions you may have at a later date?
On your visit, you may be too nervous to remember all those questions circulating in your head. Confirm with them whether it is okay to send a follow-up email with any further questions which crop up. If they seem present and available to your demands, then they may just be a great fit for you. You need to make sure that your legal representative is responsive at all times to avoid any confusion.
Can you think about it a little before you hire them?
What you don’t need at this point is a lawyer pressing you to decide then and there on the spot. It is well within your right to shop around for another. Give yourself some time to make your decision. You will know when it feels right and you come across a lawyer who is in tune with your needs.
By Christina Hamlett
Have you ever wondered if the characters in your unfinished screenplay will finally get so tired waiting for you to wrap up their story that they just write the rest themselves? Real life, alas, has a pesky way of encroaching on the time you need for your “reel” life. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying, “But there aren’t enough hours,” consider this article your wake-up call. You actually have all the hours you need to keep on schedule with your writing; you simply need to allocate them more efficiently.
By the Numbers
If your boss gives you a task, there’s probably a due date attached to it. Writing, however, is a solitary craft that often embraces a “get-to-it-when-I-get-to-it” mindset. Unless there’s a specific deadline looming, it’s too easy to let a project slide by falling back on the excuse that your muse just isn’t cooperating. Well, it’s time to readjust that attitude, put on a “boss” hat and become more accountable for product delivery.
Let’s say you’re writing a 100-page script and you’re set on a 4-week deadline. In order to meet this goal, you need to produce 25 pages a week (5 a day if you take weekends off). It’s really not that much but where most writers err is in editing as they go. Don’t do this. Just write. Edit when you’re finished. If you edit as you compose, you’re going to spend way too much time agonizing over the perfect first line and never get to the second one.
Another approach is to commit to writing one page a day for 3-1/2 months. Even if you have a wild spurt of creativity and write 10 pages in a single afternoon, it doesn’t let you off the hook for the next 10 days; it just means you’re that much farther ahead. We’ll still expect the mandatory one page from you tomorrow. Psychologists say it takes 21 days to incorporate a new habit into your behavior. If you steadfastly apply this to a daily writing schedule, you couldn’t not write on Day 22.
When I was penning romantic suspense novels for HarperCollins, I worked with several women who were voracious readers. Rather than join a critique group of fellow writers, I found it more valuable to test-drive my material on people who represented my target demographic. Every Friday afternoon, I’d distribute copies of my latest chapters. Since it was my style to end each one with a cliffhanger, they’d usually accost me first thing Monday morning and demand to know what happened next. I dared not show up empty-handed.
Whether you recruit your own readers or work with writing partner(s), engaging others in your writing process is a powerful motivator to impose stick-to-itiveness. If you don’t have access to supporters to push and prod you along, the next best thing is to never end your writing day at a point where it’s too hard to restart. Finishing a scene, for instance, makes you feel less inclined to begin a new one than if you end in the middle of a line: “Oh, Jeffrey, I know it’s bad timing but there’s a—” There’s a what???? Yes, you know what “it” is and it’ll drive you crazy to have to wait a day to type it.
Finding the 25th Hour
Could your writing schedule use an extra hour? Of course it could, but to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, “The Isla de More Time cannot be found except by those who already know where it is.” If you want to keep to a code of high productivity, it starts with aggressive decluttering. For a single day, record how much time you spend checking email, surfing the Internet, reading TMZ gossip, looking for lost notes, playing computer games. Yikes! Who’d have imagined how it all adds up!
* If you live with others, how often do they interrupt and derail your train of thought? Writing is your job. Insist on respect.
* Learn keyboard shortcuts to save typing time. (http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/keyboard.aspx)
* Consolidate/delegate your errand-running.
* Identify your most productive writing zone and consistently stick to it.
* Remove distractions from your workspace.
* Get up earlier; go to bed later.
* Read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Kenneth Atchity’s A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write, and Pilar Alessandra’s The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time.
* Invest in electronic programs such as NewNovelist.com, StoryCraft, Quick Story, Writer’s Café, Writer’s Blocks as well as voice recognition software.
* Use rewards – a spa day, chocolate, new shoes - to stay motivated. (Didn’t you always do your homework faster when you knew you could go play afterwards?)
Inspired? Great! Now go get back to your characters. They’ve missed you.
Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author, professional ghostwriter and script consultant whose credits to date include 31 books, 157 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films, and squillions of articles and interviews. Learn more at www.authorhamlett.com.
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