Viewing by month: December 2014

3 ways to get more hours of the day

Most of us have wished we could achieve more in a day at one point or other. Somehow being able to magically increase the number of hours in a day would be one way of fixing this. However, an increase in productivity during the day could effectively achieve the same result – and is actually achievable.

Below are three tactics which may assist in achieving just that.

SLEEP MORE

While this point may appear counterintuitive, ensuring you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep can increase productivity in a number of ways. By getting your regular 8 hours, functions which help you remain focussed may improve, such as memory and stress management as an example. Being able to stay on top of all the bits and pieces you need to remember, while managing to keep stress levels in check, can be great rewards for making sure you prioritise getting enough sleep each night. By rearranging your schedule a little and sacrificing some time in front of the screen, or trying to get away from the office on time most nights, that extra hour or so of sleep may become possible.

COMMIT TO EXERCISE

Exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week can sometimes seem like a hefty commitment. However, the benefits of these three hours of activity each week can really outweigh the effort involved. Exercise can develop cognitive ability through increased blood-flow to the brain, while research has also shown that there is a clear correlation between physical activity and mental health. Furthermore, increased physical activity, such as cardio and weight training, can even decrease your chance of physical illness and assist in lifting energy levels generally. This means less days lost to sickness or fatigue, and more spent being productive and active. For these reasons it can be well worth the effort to look at your options for exercise, and try to implement a plan to make it happen.

DEDICATE TO YOUR DIET

It may seem at first glance that eating takeaway on the go would be the best way of improving productivity, due to the time saved not needing to cook. However, this may not necessarily be the case. Ensuring you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet and fuelling up properly for each day can improve productivity as it can assist in decreasing the chance of weight- and other diet-related issues. Studies have demonstrated that eating a wide variety of healthy foods can even assist in improving happiness levels, creativity and engagement for some. This is why putting a small amount of work into eating right can lead to large gains in productivity, and in this regard planning is the key. Planning when, what and where you will eat at the beginning of the day (or week) will ensure you’re not tempted to turn to fast food.


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 18/12/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Bathroom storage guide

Create order from the chaos with a bathroom storage makeover.

Messy benchtops, cluttered drawers and damp towels on the floor are not only unhygienic, but they do little to calm a tired mind. Here are our tips to get you started.

Depending on your bathroom's size and layout, a practical storage layout might include built-in cupboards, floating shelves, a mobile trolley with shelves, and a medley of small storage including baskets and canisters. If space is at a premium, look to maximise all storage opportunities with recessed alcoves alongside the bath or shower, and clever additions such as wall hooks and rails.

 

GETTING STARTED

 

Clear the clutter

The first step to organised storage is a thorough declutter; clear drawers and shelves of cosmetics past their use-by date, throw out shampoos and soaps you no longer use, and find new homes for anything not strictly bathroom-related so that you can see exactly what you need to store.

 

Consider what you need to store

As the bathroom is a moist and steamy spot it's not always the best place to store spare towels and linen, so consider moving these to a cupboard elsewhere. Bathroom necessities generally include towels, grooming products, spare toilet rolls and kids' bath toys.

 

Store essential items within easy reach

Soap, shampoo and everyday grooming products should be stored within arms' reach of where you use them, such as a shelf beside the bath or shower or drawers beneath the sink. Items used less frequently can be stored on the upper and lower points of cupboards and shelves.

 

Consider built-ins

Cupboards and shelves that are designed to fit your bathroom specifications generally make the best use of space as they can be designed to go from floor to ceiling and fit into awkward spots. A mixture of open and closed built-in storage allows you to keep unsightly things such as cleaning products hidden behind closed doors and the more attractive ones out on display.

 

Keep tabs on belongings

In a shared bathroom make sure everyone knows what belongs to them by colour-coding toothbrushes and sewing different coloured tags on towels.

 

Consider maintenance

Glass shelves are easy to keep clean and won't visually clutter up the bathroom. Avoid over-filling shelves - plenty of light and space around display items will enhance the sense of space and calm in a bathroom.

 

Don't forget ventilation

Keep the bathroom fresh and hygienic by allowing moist air to escape through louvred windows or a ceiling or wall exhaust fan.

 

TOP TIPS

 

- If you're short on space, look around for hidden storage opportunities - consider installing tall cabinets beside the sink, hooks or rails on the back of the bathroom door, and a storage recess beneath a built-in bath or inside the bath hob.

- In a small bathroom look for furniture that double-duties, such as a sink with a cupboard beneath it, a vanity with built-in towel rail, or a storage stool.

- Keep storage furniture, such as vanities and shelves, off the floor by wall-mounting it to maximise the floor space in a tiny bathroom.

- Mobile storage, such as a trolley on castor with a couple of shelves, provides a handy spot for everyday essentials, and can be shifted away when not in use.

- A heated, wall-mounted towel rail is practical and stylish, plus it will dry towels quickly and cut back on laundry time.

- Narrow alcoves alongside the bath or shower are a handy spot for shampoos and soap, and won't clutter up your bathroom.

- Woven baskets for bathroom paraphernalia will add texture and natural appeal to a plain bathroom.

- If you're tired of the family flinging damp towels onto the floor, invest in a sturdy lidded laundry box for dirty towels.

 

COMMON PITFALLS

 

Wasted storage opportunities

Keep mess off the floor by seeking out hidden storage potential - consider an over-toilet storage rack, a corner cupboard for awkward corners, and a mirror fronted vanity cupboard with recessed shelves, all of which will boost your storage without sacrificing floor space.

 

Oversized storage

Overly-deep shelves and cupboards are difficult to organise and waste precious floor space, which only makes a bathroom feel smaller than it really is. Measure the items you need to store, and consider taking storage higher and wider to maximise floor space. For a streamlined look, set cupboards and alcoves deep into the wall cavity.

 

Boring storage

Add drama to your bathroom space by introducing unexpected storage pieces, such as a beautiful armoire, a painted vanity or an industrial-style shop fitting. Always ensure any wooden furniture is properly sealed to prevent water damage.

 

Disorganised drawers

Create order inside drawers and cupboards with drawer inserts, pull-out shelves and corner carousels that bring items right out.

 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 16/12/2014 at 11:10 AM | Categories:

How to: save money on tradies

Good tradespeople are worth their weight in gold. When renovating an expert tradie can truly make all the difference in coming in or above budget.

For tradies, time is money and if you're not working on a fixed price quote, then every hour trades spend on site, you're being charged. Below are four tips you can do to help save time for your tradies and in turn save money. While they may seem small, over a large job these little things really add up.

 

1. AVOID THE SET UP & PACK UP

When tradespeople start and finish work there's a substantial amount of setting up and packing up that needs to get done. In some cases, if the worksite is not deemed secure, tradies will have to unpack their tools from their truck daily.

One great way to save on this one-hour task is to provide your tradesfolk with a locked space on site that they can securely store their tools in. This could be an unused room, lawn locker or garage.

Give them a key so that they know their tools are safe when they are off site.

 

2. CLEAN THE SITE

A dirty site slows work down. It also costs money. Paying your tradie to clean is hardly where you want to be investing your budget.

Pitch in and get active. Simply picking up rubbish and sweeping every few days can make a world of difference to the pace of work, efficiency and safety.

 

3. BE THE SITE PA

The more time your tradies spend on the phone, the less time they are on the tools. So let your tradie know you are able to do some of the legwork for them, for example pick up supplies, arrange deliveries or check stock availability.

There are obviously many things your tradies won't be able to delegate to you, but you'll be amazed how many little jobs you can take off their hands (and how grateful they often are).

 

4. GET DIRTY

There are a lot of jobs during a home improvement project that can be done by even the most unskilled renovator, like digging holes and moving dirt. So role up those sleeves and give it a go.

Obviously it's essential to listen to your tradies and work within the workplace health and safety boundaries (which they will be able to guide you on), but in most cases you will find your team will welcome the extra help.

 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 12/12/2014 at 12:15 PM | Categories:

Preparing your pool for summer - 5 simple steps

It's been a long and cold winter, but with summer fast approaching, its time we consider preparing our pools for summer.

There are five simple steps to consider with preparing your pools and now would be a good time to get on top of them.

 

1. If you use a solid cover over your pool, first drain off the water, but ensure that it doesn't run off into the pool. Sweep the cover and clean it. If you want to remove stains from the cover, BioGaurd Stow Away is a great option. Once the cover is clean, store it in a dry place that's free of debris and a place protected from sun and weather damage.

 

2. Next, fill your pool. Your pool needs to be filled to the middle of the skimmer opening for it to properly circulate.

 

3. Once the pool is filled, check the Pump, Skimmer Basket and Filter. You need to make sure all the equipment is clean and in working order. Start the circulation system and remove debris from the pool. The filter is a very important part of your pool's maintenance program. If the system is not working, the products you add will not be able to perform their job either.

 

4. Once the filter is clean and in working order, you should circulate the water for 24 to 48 hours before taking a water sample. To take a sample, use a clean plastic container and scoop about a litre of water at around elbow-depth from your pool and take it to your local pool shop for thorough testing.

 

These steps are a good way to keep your pool preparation up to date and only need to be thoroughly followed before and after each swimming season.

 

5. Lastly ensure all pool fencing is in good, safe working order.

 

Happy swimming and don't forget the sunscreen.

 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 08/12/2014 at 9:29 AM | Categories:

Spare a thought for clients over Christmas.

Christmas and New Year are customarily very busy times for real estate agents, as settlements are sought to be finalised and any lingering negotiations or deals are sought to be closed before the holiday season begins. It can be important not to forget that client relationships still need to be maintained during this time, however, which can be done easily through simply letting them know how they might stay in touch during the silly season.

Clients, including vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants, will appreciate you taking the time to let them know your plans and whereabouts over the festive season, and whether or not you will be contactable. This information is handy as it will direct them to suitable contacts should they have any issues arise during this time, for instance a water leakage in a rental property. A benefit of remaining contactable during this period is that it will help to ensure that the Century 21 brand remains prominent in the minds of customers. It’s also a small gesture which might increase the possibility that they will consider your services for their future real estate activities, as it can be enormously irritating needing the help of someone only to find that they have gone AWOL for several weeks.

Below are a few other simple, yet effective ways of staying in touch with clients over the holiday season that you may wish to explore.

Christmas cards: Agents who personally write and sign cards that contain a small personal message, such as a congratulations on the purchase of a new home, can set themselves apart from their competitors. Such cards are well-received by clients as they demonstrate an element of personalisation, and treating as client as an individual with unique needs. While you’re at it, why not use Christmas cards as an opportunity to provide clients with the best contact details for you over the holidays also, so that they can get in touch with you should any needs arise.

Be involved: The very nature of real estate involves contact and relationships with a diverse range of clients. This can mean that, as an agent, you are invited to many social events as the end of the year draws near. Rather than looking towards these functions as time-consuming obligations as we can sometimes be tempted to do, why not instead adjust your mindset and think of them as a fun investment into your current client relationships, and an opportunity to develop new client relations leading into the New Year. It could be worse than working with a glass of champagne and a canapé in your hand!

Automate your email: As the clock strikes 5pm on your last working day for the year, it is important to remember to switch on your out-of-officer automated email reply. That way, clients will be immediately notified of the reason behind your lack of reply outside of the designated dates and secondly (again) how to contact you in emergency situations.

These small initiatives will not only assist in maintaining client relations, but should help to ensure that you are able to have a relaxing holiday, where you can totally switch off, as you will have successfully ‘taken care of business’ prior to stepping out of the office on Christmas Eve.


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 02/12/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories: