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Think “Learning” for a Better Budget

Think “Learning” for a Better Budget

Aloha, let’s manage with aloha: Work well, live well.

I’m hearing the B word a lot these days: BUDGET. In my coaching I find that this is the time when all my clients are focusing on goals and objectives for the coming year. The thing is that they are focusing on it only because they have to, not because they want to: It’s time to get those forecasts and pro-formas in!

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While goal-setting with that financial catalyst is better than nothing, and it can be a good thing in terms of better realism with dated business models, the wiser, forward-thinking companies are those who use this time for financial goals connected to career development, service enhancements, and the customer-responsiveness of product. They connect those financial objectives—which will never go away, nor should they—with people objectives.

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What does this have to do with my learning theme this month? Plenty. This is just a short list for starters:

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  • Learn to use a better budget-writing process, where you look forward and not backwards. If your only research is the pattern of your past history + a new quota, no surprise that come year’s end you’ll only get what you’ve always got before.
  • Learn to involve the rest of your staff. In my experience, the more the merrier when it comes to the budget process. A goal for all managers should be banishing any entitlement mentality in staff and replacing it with business partner collaboration. Budget time is a great time to start: If they affect the budget, they should influence it and own it.
  • Learn some new measurements. I’m guessing that ROI has always been in your budget; now how about ROR (Return on Relationships) and ROA (Return on Attention)?
  • Learn that investment is a better word than cost. Asking yourself, What better investments can I make next year? is far better framing for your own thinking than Where can I cut costs? yet you answer the same question in terms of money and time, and cut out those un-worthy expenditures that won’t hurt anyway.
  • Learn to look outside versus inside. Lucky for me, fresh out of college, the first company I worked for never started the budget process until the coming year’s marketing plan was written, and an internal company campaign had been started to inspire us. Then the particulars of the marketing plan was presented in dialogue format to all the managers who’d then write the budget. Customer focus, company focus, then budget planning.
  • Learn to love numbers. Really. Fact of life: work success—not just business success—revolves around them, and once you set a new goal of improved financial literacy for yourself your outlook changes. Befriend someone who works in corporate finance, investment banking, or money management today, and get a window seat into their world: There’s a lot of passion to be felt there, a lot of smarts to get infected with.

Finally, Learn to Learn. I urge all of you now in budget-crunching land: Get that line item in your budget for “Staff Training and Education” and make the numbers work for it to happen. Then, set your own goals in learning and personal growth using that cash: Connect all the dots.

There’s just one Thursday left for our September Learning here on Lifehack.org this month: Comment here or email me if there’s a learning topic you’re interested in for next week. On every other day, you can visit me on www.ManagingWithAloha.com. Aloha! Rosa Say

Previous Thursday Column: Workhack: The Attitude of Q.&D.

Article Reference: The 3 R’s in Business: ROI, ROR, and ROA

Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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