Off The Grid Mentality

Posted: 1586 days ago in Lifestyle

goneoffgrid-e1411041894501 copyIn this high-tech world we live in, especially in a high-tech business like blogging, it becomes really difficult to disconnect.

It was only just a decade or two ago when you could go on vacation and still be unreachable. No cell phone, laptop, or fax machine. You left a number to the hotel with someone at home in case of an emergency, and that was the last you communicated with home until you arrived back.

These days, isn’t it great that we can work from anywhere? We can telecommute. We are reachable 24/7!

Or is it great??

Most of us are on this hamster wheel of productivity. We hit the ground running, and fall over exhausted at the end of the night — It’s not a sustainable state. Ideally, we’d practice a little of this everyday but that doesn’t discount the need for an extended period of rest and relaxation.

It’s not a badge of honor to say that you haven’t taken a day off in 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, though; it’s great to be a ‘company man’ or ‘woman’ — to an extent. No one ever says on their deathbed that they wish they had put more time in at the office. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They say that they wished they had spent more time with the ones they loved.

During our “prime time,” when we are entrenched in the business of making a living, or organizing the lives of our family members at home, it is absolutely wonderful to be fully reachable. However, it’s during our “playtime” that I think it’s critical to be virtually unreachable.

Rest and rejuvenation are crucial to maintaining high levels of productivity.

So, if we always have our contacts and emails within an arm’s reach, might we not be as well-replenished as we think? Without the distraction that electronic communication, email, texts, and phone calls bring, we create head space to appreciate that which we have come to see and experience for ourselves. It also helps us to communicate with ourselves, and each other without distraction.

In my family, we look at our calendar around the New Year and schedule our “playtime” in the form of family and couple vacations. In ink. So 2-4 times a year, we go off the grid. I leave my emergency contact info with my family and office, but encourage them not to call!

Because truly, if my house burns down, I’m going to need to be rested and rejuvenated to deal with that when I come home.

So if you’re taking the time and money to plan a vacation, then I applaud you. Just make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Don’t take your busy life with you, because it does no good to live your busy life remotely. Frankly, it’s just a change of venue and probably more difficult, a.k.a. all of the stress and none of the conveniences.

Wishing you much rest and relaxation, OFF the grid!

Sticking Together

Posted: 1607 days ago in Sex & Relationships

sitcking-together

My best childhood friend was doing her residency in radiology while she was pregnant.

Her boss, another female doctor, made it very clear that she was not to expect any concession for her condition, and in fact, was harder on her than any of the other doctors.

Really, sister? Was that necessary?

Michele is one of the smartest and hardest-working women I know, who does way more than is expected of her every time. It upsets me still that some women seem to delight in taking other women down. I am definitely not a flag-waving feminist, but don’t we have enough to deal with, considering glass-ceilings and pay inequality? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have guaranteed support from your home team?

We’re not in high-school any more, Dorothy.

Tearing someone down does not build you up. Some men and women alike don’t deserve your support, but undermining another woman out of jealousy or spitefulness does not look good on you.

I personally pinch myself every day when I think of the team I was blessed with throughout my time in practice: three smart, accomplished, and beautiful (ahem) female doctors, supported by equally smart, accomplished and beautiful support team members. Although we don’t work together now, we love each other dearly, worked like a well-oiled machine, and still support one another to this day.

So, just be kind to your own kind. There is a whole lot more to gain in building each other up, than there is in tearing someone down.

You feel me, ladies?

So, You Want To Be A Rockstar?

Posted: 1918 days ago in Lifestyle

rockstarA few times a year I’ll work a career day at a local high school or college.

These kids kill me. “How much money do you make?” is always their first question. Really? Like if they hate Algebra, they’ll do it all day long for the right money? That’ll last like – oh – four days.

Instead, what I get them to think about – and what I would like you to think about, if you are not living your dream is:

1.) What is your dream job?

(And, if you are having trouble coming up with one, then…) 

2.) What is it that you enjoy doing each and every day?  

So do that, and find a way to get paid for it! Not everyone can be a rock star, but rock stars need someone to write their music, negotiate their contracts, design their stages and build their instruments. You dream of being an astronaut, you say? Well, few can do that, but many can work at NASA, design space suits, write movies about space travel or specialize in anti-gravity medicine. Get my drift?

Don’t settle for a mundane, “gotta make the donuts” mentality. Life is waaaay too short.  There IS a way to live your passion, if you think outside the box! I’d like to think we can teach the same to our children. The best way being? Leading by example.

Good luck in all of your pursuits!

Take This One to the Bank, Sister

Posted: 2007 days ago in Lifestyle

Take This One to the Bank SisterI saw a graphic in Money magazine recently that was a very clear visual on the importance of saving early, and reinforced what I know to be true. Much like the story of the ant and the grasshopper, it painted two pictures; One of an individual who planned early and saved, and another one who was late to jump on the bandwagon. In essence, here is what it said:

Scenario #1: An individual saves $5,000.00 a year from the ages of 25-35, and never saves again. Upon retirement at age 65 (assuming a 7% return), they would have around $600k saved, interest and all. That’s a $50k investment over 10 years, with a very healthy return. That’s if this individual didn’t raid the coffers….

Scenario #2: An individual saves $5,000.00 a year from the age of 35-65. Upon retirement, the individual has roughly $540k saved, interest and all. That’s a $150k investment, with a much lower return. This individual invested THREE TIMES the amount, over 30 years, but because he or she waited 10 years to begin, their return, and ending balance, was substantially lower!

If this doesn’t paint a picture of the importance of compounding interest, then look at it this way… We make money. We save money. The money we save, makes interest; therefore, adding to our savings. Well, the money that we have in savings (interest and all), makes even more interest, all of which gets added to our savings. Ultimately, the larger the dollar figure in our savings account – the more money we make over time without having to lift a finger. And so, the longer we save, the more money we make. It’s nearly exponential with time. If you still don’t understand, then I suggest playing with a savings amortization calculator, like this one. Enter a starting amount in savings and see what the possibilities are over time when interest is on your side.

The best possible scenario would be to start young, from the very first paycheck and continue saving throughout life. Most  Americans, new employees, and/or young adults – we’re not made of money, and yet our happiness quotient is rather high. So when we get that first regular paycheck, saving part of it should be an easy concept right out of the gate. If you went from nothing to making something, say like $2,000 a month – put $200 away before you even start spending, and you’ll never know the difference. My suggestion is to have it withdrawn automatically so you won’t have to think about it again. Francesca, my 17 year old, just got her first job, and she is making her Mama proud:  She arranged for 20% of her paycheck to be transferred into a short-term savings account (I think she has her eye on a Michael Kors watch), and 20% goes towards her college fund. The remaining 60% goes towards gas for her car, sushi nights with her girlfriends, and the like. Smart girl even said, “If I get a full ride for college, can I put that money towards a down-payment on a car or house?”.

I myself am a big believer in balancing living in the moment and saving for the future. I mean, we all deserve a little indulgence now and again like that watch, a new lipstick or pair of shoes – but not at the expense of future security. So to all of you saying to yourself, “I’ll start saving someday,” please dispel the notion that you will save “someday” when you have extra. Trust me when I say that with this mindset, you will never have extra. No one has extra. Pay yourself FIRST! As your salary increases, your savings should increase proportionately and any bonuses, raises, gifts, etc. – should be saved. My rule of thumb is to save one dollar for every dollar spent. I think that minimally, 10-20% of our income should go straight to savings on a regular basis – assuming this is money we never had.

On a side note: With the extra, feel free to treat yourself to some “scoobies.” As long as for every dollar you’re spending, you’re saving one too – there is no reason why you can’t do with your money as you please. However, this is NOT in regard to debt. If you’re in debt, I suggest putting one dollar toward debt, one dollar toward savings. No scoobies until you’re out of debt! And if you’re not in debt, don’t get into debt!

Lastly, I want to distinguish between two types of savings. There is short-term and there is long-term savings. One (long-term) is for the day when you don’t have to work anymore. Another (short-term) is for shorter-term purchases like a car, vacation, down payment on a house, etc. I think it’s helpful to have separate accounts for those things so the line doesn’t become blurry. If you’re reading this saying, “I can’t afford to save,” yet you’re sipping your venti soy latte, clutched in your manicured fingers, to you I say, “BAH! You’re lying to yourself.” Make sure you’re not treating yourself before investing in your future. After all, a manicure won’t last – an untouched bank account accruing interest, lasts a lifetime.