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Prevent Social Media Overwhelm

Prevent Social Media Overwhelm

It’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of social media. Especially when we’re still practicing social distancing and businesses aren’t all open yet.

You think you’re going to get caught up with some friends from high school. Next thing you know, you’re arguing about what kind of potato you are two hours later. Or you run your own business and you’re trying to keep up with all the latest channels that people say you “have” to be on!

Here are some tips for avoiding the overwhelm.

 

Give yourself a break

 

It’s not entirely your fault that you find social media addicting. If you’ve been beating yourself up about the time you spend on the platforms, stop. They have been specifically designed to be addicting.

You may be under the false impression that social media platforms exist to connect people with other people. They don’t.

Their business model is to keep people on the platform so they can get as many ads in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The fact that you can catch up with your high-school friends or see your niece’s wedding dress is entirely incidental to what the channels are all designed for, which is to make money for advertisers.

That’s why you find it so easy to get sucked in and waste hours in front of the screen. The designers created it to be that way.

 

Turn off notifications on your phone

 

In the course of designing platforms that will keep us glued to them for hours, the developers also know quite a bit about neuroscience and use that to their advantage.  Definitely to most users’ disadvantage!

You probably know that humans are social animals, and we have a need to fit in somewhere or belong somewhere and have some friends. Introverts included. They just need fewer friends than extroverts do to feel they belong.

Our brains also like novelty. That’s why the app designers have all those beeps and buzzes to let you know when you have a notification. Your brain releases a little hit of dopamine, a happy neurochemical,  when this novelty hits you. That’s your brain saying Yeah! More of this!

The notification leads you to open up the app so you can see where someone liked or commented on your post. More feel-good neurochemicals, because you’re getting social validation with the likes and comments, you social animal you.

Still think you need to leave them on? Studies have been done on how long it takes you to start concentrating again once you’ve been interrupted. The answer may surprise you – it’s 23 minutes.

If you’re trying to focus on your work and you pause to see that someone liked your Facebook post, you’ve just wasted more than 20 minutes. Just on the few seconds that it took you to check the notification.

Even if your business is on social media, you don’t necessarily need to keep your notifications on. Unless you’re selling through the channel, in which case you might. Most of the social media platforms allow you to set up a FAQ where you can answer the questions that you often get.

Turn off your notifications and notice how peaceful life is all of a sudden.

 

If you use social media for business, curate and use technology

 

There are a lot of people out there, who may or may not refer to themselves as social media coaches or gurus or superstars, who will insist that anyone worth their salt must be on platform A or B. And some will advise you to be on all of them. But unless you have full-time social media staff, that is just not possible.

Do you need to have your business on social media? Some people argue that you don’t, but those are the people who made their names early on. They don’t need social media to amplify their bylines.

For most of the rest of us, though, we do need to be out there. After all, the platforms are free. You just need to pick the one or two that match your demographic and that you personally can bear to deal with.

The demographic information for all the social medic channels is widely available (here, for example) if you don’t already have a general idea which channel you should focus on.

One rule of thumb that you probably should abide by is to have a LinkedIn profile if you sell business-to-business or B2B. If you’re B2C, selling direct to the retail customer, it may not be necessary. Instagram and Pinterest both skew female and are visually oriented.  Twitter posts do better when paired with pictures but is mainly a text-based platform.

In order to automate your social media as much as possible, you can find a scheduler where you input all your posts and they’re sent out to your platforms at the time that you choose. That way you don’t have to spend so much time on the channels themselves. Although they do reward organic or non-scheduled content.

You can create video from a blog post using technology now as well. See where you can use systems to your advantage.

 

Give yourself a break, part 2

 

And sometimes, you may just need to avoid social media for a little while. During this time, there’s a lot of misinformation and partisan positioning that can rapidly become overwhelming. If you have a business on social media, look only at your business page and nothing else.

On your personal platforms, you can let everyone know that you’re taking a break. You might even find while you’re off that you don’t want to get back on! If you want to stay in touch with friends and family, you can do that via phone calls and web chats. They’re more effective than social media anyway for maintaining social ties.

 

Focus on offline

 

Before you sit down in front of the screen, it might be worth asking yourself if you’ve done everything else first. Did your kids, pets, and/or spouse spend time with you today? Did you exercise in some fashion, even if it was just a dance party for one? Is there a craft or a hobby that you keep wishing you have more time for?

Spending too much time online makes people more lonely and depressed. It’s healthy for you to spend time offline. Especially when you’re spending it thoughtfully by working on a craft or something else that you really love.

Or talking to friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, or catching up with family. Or taking the whole family for a walk after dinner (staying 6 feet away from other people exercising in the great outdoors). Or whatever behavior is healthy, fun, and lights you up… because social media won’t, in the long run.

 

Are you concerned about your financial health while we deal with COVID-19? We’re working remotely (technology for the win!) so please feel free to give us a call at 619.255.9554 or email us.

 

Staying Productive While Working From Home

Staying Productive While Working From Home

With so many people working remotely, being productive can sometimes be a challenge. Creating an office-like environment is a good start. Try to separate your business space from your personal space as much as you can. Read on for more tips on productivity while you’re working at home.

Old Schedule or New Schedule?

 

There are two ways to best schedule your day when you’re working from home. One is to mimic your usual workday as much as possible. Get up at the same time as you usually would. If you normally exercise and eat breakfast in the morning before work, stick to that schedule.
The other way to schedule your day is to evaluate your new normal. If you used to exercise after work, consider energizing yourself in the morning instead. Now that you’ve reduced your commute time, you might find it works well for you! Get to your home “office” around the same time as you used to.

Working with the same schedule is helpful when you work with a team in the same time zone, and you have meetings or calls with colleagues, clients, or management. Your company might require you to keep roughly the same schedule as before. Staying in the same groove helps keep the boundary between work and home clearer.

However, if you’re able to, you might consider shifting your hours to take advantage of the time when you’re most productive. If you’re a morning lark and your most productive time is earlier in the day, take advantage of that. Use the hours for focused work. By contrast, if you’re a night owl, try adjusting your schedule to take advantage of the afternoon or evening hours when you’re most productive.

You might be amazed at how much you can get done when aligned with your natural circadian rhythm. A “weird” schedule works well for companies with colleagues distributed across the globe. Maybe you’re too early for US peers, but you’re able to connect with the UK or European office in the morning.

Whichever schedule you choose, make sure that you’re also scheduling in breaks. According to Cal Newport, in his book Deep Work, most people have only three or four hours a day of focused, deep work. Give yourself a chance to revive after intense focus and play with the kids, pets, and spouse. Take time to eat and go for a short walk to refresh in the afternoon or whenever your slump happens.

Dress pants optional?

 

Wearing formal business clothing from head to toe might feel strange for days spent working at home. But, there is something to be said for keeping up your professional image during video conferencing. For many clients and coworkers, seeing you in your sweats can have a jarring effect on how they perceive your professional role. Also, if you dress as you usually would at the office, it helps you mark the boundary of work vs. home. Remember the TV reporter caught wearing a blazer and shirt but no pants? If you’re fully dressed in business casual, you don’t have to worry about any accidental Zoom flashes!

Make sure you have an ergonomic workspace

 

You might have worked remotely, occasionally, before the corona virus crisis. Sitting on the sofa with your laptop is fine for the odd day when you’re not in the office.

But when you’re working from home all week, you need to set up your computer, desk, and chair so that you don’t harm your shoulders, back, and wrists.

Even after the crisis passes, more employees are likely to work from home, so investing in the proper equipment will pay off.

Soft tissue injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome may take longer to heal than broken bones. You want to avoid them as much as possible. Not only do they prevent you from working, but they prevent you from doing things with your family and friends.

You can find more details about an ergonomic setup here. The center of the computer screen should be eye level when you’re sitting correctly with a straight neck. Your elbows are at a 90-degree angle when you’re typing and mousing, and your wrists are straight.

In other words, you can’t work ergonomically on just your laptop! You’ll need a monitor if nothing else can put your keyboard at the correct height and not strain your neck while typing. Most laptop keyboards are a little challenging to type on correctly. Adding on an external keyboard and mouse, particularly an ergonomic mouse, will help enormously.

Your chair height should allow your knees at a 90-degree angle, your thighs supported, and your feet at rest on the floor. Shorter workers often need a footrest, so their legs don’t dangle when their knees are at the right height.

If you’ve got the necessary equipment (or you’re willing to buy it), consider a sit/stand setup. Sitting all day is unhealthy, so the easier you can make it to switch between standing and sitting, the better. Creating a tread-desk might be worth looking into, especially if you already have a treadmill at home. Switch out your chair for a stability ball or wobble stool for some time during the day.

 

Reduce distractions

The key to productivity, both at home and at the office, is to reduce distractions. Make it as easy as possible to get your work done. Once you’re interrupted, it takes nearly 25 minutes to get back into focus! Stay one task as much as possible, and you’ll get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time. When you’re at home, that’s more time for yourself and your family.

  • Phone

Your phone may be the most distracting tool of all. Place it face down to hide the notifications. Turn off push notifications from any apps on your phone. If you have a work phone, delete any social media apps unnecessary for your job. 

 

  • Household

Create and enforce boundaries while you’re working to avoid interruptions as much as possible. That’s why having a room with a door that you can close is best for working at home, but that’s not always possible or useful. Make sure everyone knows when you’re at your desk that it’s work time (or whatever signal you have that you’re “at work” and not “at home”), and you’re not to be disturbed. 

You have to enforce this boundary with yourself, too. If your kids see on you on Facebook while you’re at your desk for “work time,” obviously not working, they’ll think they can come in and bug you.

 

  • Pets

If you have someone else at home with you to take care of them, that’s great. Otherwise, they may need to be crated or shut out of the room so that you can work in peace. Play with them on your scheduled breaks too, so they get some time to interact with you. Even cats need playtime to stay socialized and healthy.

Here at Platt Wealth Management we’re working remotely, and we’re happy to answer questions or schedule a virtual meeting. Feel free to call us at 619.255.9554 or email us.

Men’s Health: Live Longer With These Health Screenings

Men’s Health: Live Longer With These Health Screenings

Men tend not to go to the doctor for routine exams as often as women do, but it’s vital for them to catch potential health issues quickly. Poor health and health costs are the number one concern in retirement planning. And unfortunately, as people get older, there are more chances for health issues to crop up!

Men need regular health screenings as they get older

 

Many of the diseases and conditions that can result in a reduced life expectancy don’t have any symptoms. The only way you’ll know if you have them is to get screened. For example, there are no symptoms for high blood pressure. But if left unchecked, it’s a known precursor for cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, when you’re able to catch conditions early, you can treat or even eliminate them. If you wait until lung cancer has metastasized to other areas of your body, it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to treat. However, if you catch it while the abnormal growths are still small and localized, you may be able to eliminate it completely.

 

Men under age 50 health screening checklist

 

  • High blood pressure

If you’re usually at a healthy blood pressure (at or below 120/80), you’ll only need this screening every two years. Otherwise, your doctor will probably recommend it every year.

 

  • Cholesterol

If you don’t have risk factors or a family history of high cholesterol, put this on your calendar for every five years. If you do, you might need it done more often.

 

  • Diabetes

If you’re age 40 or over and you’re overweight or obese, you need to take a diabetic screening. Your doctor may also recommend it if you’re at risk for either heart disease or type II diabetes; if you control your blood pressure with medication; or if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80.

 

  • Hepatitis B for men in an at-risk group

Men who have non-monogamous, unprotected sex or are medical workers exposed to blood are at higher risk for contracting the infection. Your doctor will recommend how often you need to be tested.

 

  • Hepatitis C for men in an at-risk group

The population at increased risk for hepatitis C are those who had blood transfusions or organ transplants before June 1992, are a medical worker who’s ever been stuck with a needle, or ever injected drugs. Your doctor will recommend a testing schedule.

 

  • STDs/STIs

Unprotected sex with someone whose sexual/health history you don’t know? Get tested!

Health checkups for men 50+

Just as the recommended screenings for women seem to multiply past the magical age of 50, men also have some additional tests they didn’t necessarily require at a younger age.

  • Colorectal screening

The schedule for getting these tests starts at age 50. Depending on which one you take, you may be able to go longer without repeating the test as long as the results are healthy. If you take a fecal occult or fecal immunochemical test, you’ll need to have it done annually. Repeat stool DNA every three years, and flexible sigmoidoscopy or virtual colonoscopy every five years. When you choose a colonoscopy, you may not need another for five to ten years.

Colorectal tests are essential because they can catch precancerous cells in your colon or rectum, which might otherwise cause cancer. Removing the polyps can prevent cancer when you detect them early enough.

How to choose among your options? Here are the pros and cons of each method.

 

Fecal tests can be done in the privacy of your own home, as you’ll need to collect stool samples and send them to the lab. You may need to change your diet and medications before you take the test. They’re prone to false-positive results (where there is nothing wrong, but the test comes back positive anyway.) 

 

Stool DNA, like the other fecal tests, doesn’t require sedation or a complete colon cleanse before the test. You don’t need to change food or medications before the screening, either. When you send your stool sample to the lab, they will check for DNA changes that might indicate abnormalities and also for blood. This type of test is not as sensitive as the colonoscopy for finding abnormal growths. 

 

Flexible sigmoidoscopy uses a thin tube with a camera on its end into the rectum, where the lower colon (known as the sigmoid colon) and rectum are in view. Most people don’t need sedation, and the colon cleanse isn’t as thorough as that required for the colonoscopy. It won’t catch anything wrong in the upper colon, and you may need to change diet and medications before the test.

 

A colonoscopy is performed by inserting a flexible tube with a tiny camera in it into the rectum. This type of screening is more sensitive than the others, allowing your doctor to view all of your rectum and colon. It also permits small growths to be removed at the time of the screening.

 

However, it won’t catch everything, particularly very small abnormal growths. You’ll need to change your diet and possibly medications before the test because your colon has to be completely clean. You’ll be sedated for the test.

 

A virtual colonoscopy is similar but without sedation or the scope. Instead, carbon dioxide is pumped into your colon via a small tube placed in your rectum. You’ll still need a completely clean colon for this test.

 

  • Lung cancer (ages 55+)

Your risk for lung cancer is measured by pack-year. You should get the test if you smoked for 30-pack years: that’s one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, three packs a day for five years, etc., and you’re still smoking, or you quit within the last 15 years.

 

  • Height & weight

Measuring your height can be done every ten years, but weight annually to ensure that your body-mass index (BMI) isn’t too high.

Enjoy a healthy retirement 65 and beyond

 

Depending on you medical history, you may need specific doctor recommended tests. General health screenings that you should keep on your calendar include:

 

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm for men who smoked 

You need this test once. Though you may be wondering what this type of aneurysm is! It’s an enlargement of your aorta, and it’s dangerous because if it ruptures, you might die from the internal bleeding. Some aneurysms of this type stay small, others get very large, and they may or may not rupture.

The most significant risk factor is from smoking, which makes it more likely that you’ll have one, which also increases the risk of rupture. Smoking weakens the walls of your aorta, which is the major blood vessel in your body.

  • Colorectal screening – you can discuss it with your doctor if you still need to do it. You might not need this test anymore.

 

You may have noticed that there’s no prostate-specific antigen test listed. Doctors no longer recommend for men to get these screeners regularly.

Enjoy good financial health

 

We’re not the experts on medical tests, but we’re here to help with your financial health. 

Our advisors at Platt Wealth Management are here to help you use your money in a way that not only enhances your life but the lives of others around you. Take control of your future education and give us a call at (619) 255-9554 or email us here for a review of your finances.

What Do New Parents Need To Know About Estate Planning?

What Do New Parents Need To Know About Estate Planning?

A new baby can bring so much joy to parents and their families. In this season of new life, a million things are probably racing through your mind every second. Between baby showers, putting the finishing touches on the nursery, and stocking up on diapers and supplies, the days of a new parent are often busy— perhaps a touch chaotic. 

When starting your new family, estate planning is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it’s important to realize that this process not only prepares you for your family’s current needs but future needs as well.

Estate planning is vitally important for your child’s future, should anything happen to you or your spouse. Remember, estate planning is a complex process and you should consult your attorney and other financial professionals before making any updates to your plan.

Here are our four top tips to help organize your estate plan as a new parent.

Estate Planning #1: Adjust your will 

Before adjusting your will, the first step is to actually have a will put in place. Your will is the cornerstone of your estate plan and outlines your wishes for your assets— among other things. 

When you update your will, be sure to include two main areas:

  • Guardianship
  • Trustees

As a new parent, you will want to establish a guardian for your children if you were no longer able to take care of them. Selecting the right guardian, while grim, is an important task. This person would assume the responsibility to raise and care for your children. 

It’s important to choose someone who will not only respect your wishes and values but also be able to give your children the life they want and deserve. Before appointing a guardian, sit down and have an open and honest conversation with that person, as this would be a massive responsibility.

Another important person in your child’s life is the trustee, which would be the person responsible for the financial requirements like taxes and managing any inherited funds. A trustee would pay bills for your child, file any taxes due, and may or may not give any remaining funds to your child over time.

A guardian and trustee can be the same person, but they don’t have to be. If you do wish for them to be the same person, you can add another person to the will as a co-trustee. A co-trustee can help oversee financial matters alongside the trustee.

While no other person would be a better parent to your child than you, it’s important to be prepared should an unprecedented event arise. When you have a will put in place, you are in control, not the court system. 

Estate Planning #2: Revisit your beneficiaries 

Beneficiaries are the people who inherit an account, policy, or asset from you. You have a beneficiary for insurance, investment accounts, retirement accounts (401k, IRA, ect.), bank accounts, real estate— essentially if you have an account, you have a beneficiary for it.

You may want to name your child as a new beneficiary on your accounts. While considering that route, we strongly recommend that any beneficiary on an account be 18 years or older. Minors cannot control property, so in the event that they inherit the account, the court may appoint an attorney or another adult to oversee the account until the minor is 18.

It’s important to note that a beneficiary designation is more legally binding than a will. Say, for example, you named a friend as a beneficiary on your bank savings account but in your will, it was left for your child. The official beneficiary, your friend, would be legally owed that money, not your child.

Trusts can be a good option for children who are minors as trusts provide control over your assets in the event of your death. Your certified financial advisor will provide you with multiple options based on your goals and wants for your children.

While it may not be top of mind, it’s good practice to review your beneficiaries periodically to ensure everything is up to date. Again, the more prepared you are now, the more control you have over the future.

Estate Planning #3: Check on your insurance

Remember that life insurance policy you’ve been putting off? Now is the time to get serious about it. A life insurance policy is another way to ensure that your family can take care of expenses in the event that something should happen to you or your spouse.

The amount of coverage and type of policy you should have is dependent on:

  • The size of your family
  • Your net worth
  • Any debts or loans in your name
  • Future expenses for your family

Generally, your life insurance policy should be 20 times your annual income, but that’s not always the case. A certified financial planner can help you choose the policy that will best fit you and your family’s needs.

Estate Planning #4: Ensure you have a power of attorney, or two

A power of attorney (POA) is someone who has the legal ability to make decisions on your behalf. For your estate planning needs, you will need to have two different POAs: a health care/medical POA and a financial POA.

A medical POA/directive makes any medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. It’s important that you have your healthcare wants clearly outlined in your will so your medical POA can carry them out as you wish. For example, whether you would or would not want to be on life support and for how long is something to put in your will.

A financial POA handles any financial matters if you become unable to. This person would have access to your accounts and handle payments for debts, taxes, bills, and so on. A financial POA can be a partner, spouse, or anyone that you trust.

Estate Planning #5: Rally together with your team of professionals

Estate planning is a complex process— one that requires a strong, cohesive professional team to get right. While it may seem like an unpleasant topic, estate planning will help safeguard not only your financial security but emotional wellbeing.

While your certified financial planner will be able to help you create a plan that’s unique to your needs, you’ll also need an estate planning attorney who you trust and can help you execute the documents in your plan.

Here at Platt Wealth Management, we are passionate about helping you achieve your goals and we do that by putting your needs ahead of our own. Prepare for the best possible future and give us a call at (619) 255-9554 or email us here for a complimentary review.

20 Fun, Free Online Activities at Home

20 Fun, Free Online Activities at Home

You’re already washing your hands and staying home. As we deal with the reality of our new normal, here are some resources for staying occupied while staying home. Please let us know if you have any cool resources to add to our list.

 

Stay Connected

Coordinate with friends and family members to shares experiences. You can use Netflix Party, a Chrome extension to share a movie experience on Netflix. 

Set up virtual happy hours and meals using FaceTime, Zoom, or other virtual conference services. 

Cook new foods together from pantry staples with some easy New York Times recipes.

 

Yoga and Exercise

Down Dog app – personalized experience based on your time, level, focus, voice, and music. Free for everyone until May 1, and until July 1 for health care workers, students, and teachers. 

Core Power Yoga offers some free classes and a free week trial. 

Headspace – Offering resources and guided meditations to decrease stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and stay healthy. 

Join Oprah and Deepak in their free 21-day meditation series Finding Hope in Uncertain Times 

The Nike Training Club app helps you reach your fitness goals with expertly designed workouts from our world-class Nike Master Trainers.

Arts and Entertainment

Travel and Leisure magazine put together a list of 12 museums around the world that you can tour virtually. 

Stream Broadway shows with a 7-day free trial from Broadway HD 

Get your fix of classical music and opera with this list of streaming concerts and broadcasts including the NY Metropolitan Opera and symphonies around the world from ClassicFM. 

 Travel the world from the comfort of your couch to visit over thousands of museums, zoos and theme parks now offering virtual tours.

 

Kids

Epic! is a digital library for students that now has free membership.

Check out the wonders of our plant with the National Geographic Kids website for videos, experiments, and games. 

Students can become film makers using their mobile video and camera. Movie making editor apps like iMovie or Windows Photo App.

 

Sports

Watch classic games with free access to NFL and NBA League Pass websites.

Take a walk down memory lane by watching the top 50 sports movies of all time.

 

Online Learning and Reading

Class Central, an online course aggregator, compiled a list of more than 400 classes in Humanities, Science, Computer Programming and Data Science, Art and Design, and many others. 

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Libby by Overdrive gives you access to your local library or any library you have a library card for. Borrow ebooks and audiobooks instantly on your mobile, tablet or Kindle.

 

 

 

 

We would love to explore your possibilities with you.

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