The Longest Day: Improve Your Time Management

The Longest Day: Improve Your Time Management

I found this article “The Longest Day: Improve Your Time Management”, written by Robbie Hyman to be extremely valuable.  Published on Wednesday July 27, 2011 in Realtor Magazine.  7 simple steps gathered from sources Getting Things Done (Penguin, 2002) by David Allen; Time Management from the Inside Out (Holt Paperbacks,2004) by Julie Morgenstern; and The 4-Hour Workweek (Crown, 2007 by Timothy Ferriss.  I added my own commentary to each list item.

Whether you’re a business owner, a blogger, a Realtor, a contractor, or anything in between these suggestions apply to you:

1.  Don’t trust your memory.  Keep a notepad (one notepad that travels with you) and jot things down as you think of them.  A great idea at a marketing class rarely makes it past lunch or the test at the end of class.  Similarly, a great idea at midnight rarely makes it to the morning hours. Write it down, set time aside within the week to attack it.

2.  Make a manageable task list. Big picture to-do lists rarely get accomplished because the mountain is too high.  Break tasks down into smaller, more specific goals.  For instance, “I’ll write a letter to send out to my entire contact list today” as opposed to “create new marketing efforts to reach a broad spectrum of clients”.  The latter is way too broad and gives the feeling of “I don’t know where to begin!”  Thus, you don’t.

3.  Tune out interruptions.  Pick a time of the day, every day, when you won’t be missed (perhaps early morning or late afternoon), create a quiet space for you to work uninterrupted.  Turn off your email alerts, turn off phone, don’t check voice mail and let people know that you are unavailable for a specific period of time.  And don’t apologize.  You don’t have to be available to all people all the time.  A constant steam of interruptions makes you less efficient and honestly cranky.

4.  Differentiate the urgent from the important.  Every crisis is not your crisis.  Prioritize your attention span, and tackle the important things first.   Ever feel like you’re whole day got derailed because you wasted precious time and energy trying to solve someone else’s problem?  Or that the problem resolves itself if left alone?  Your time is important, keep it that way.

5.  Try new things.  Don’t be intimidated by new things.  Riding a bike was once “impossible”, creating a Facebook account was a daunting task,  but if you set time aside to cruise around, check it out, make mistakes, and learn it will soon be a normalcy.

6.  Do one task at a time.  Multitasking is a myth.  Mainly you’re doing multiple things badly.  If you’re with a client, don’t answer your phone!  That’s why they created voicemail!

7.  Get up 45 minutes earlier.  This goes hand-in-hand with tuning out interruptions and finding time to dedicate to yourself, your learning, and your sanity.

Free Energy Audit-Kauai Island Utility Cooperative

I recently had an energy audit done, by KIUC, on my personal residence. “Clarino” was our very friendly and knowledgeable expert who paid a personal visit to my home. The meeting took about an hour and we got to see our average usage in comparison to others around the island, narrow in on our highest energy consuming products, and get advice on how to minimize our electric cost.

It should be noted that over the past 5 years or so I’ve put in a new energy star washer, a gas dryer, an on-demand gas water heater, a brand new energy star refrigerator, and fluorescent lighting where possible.

I take pride in trying to conserve energy/water/time/space/money. Not only because I like the challenge, but it saves money in this down economy and since I’m a Certified Green Professional it’s a bit expected that I should adhere to these values.

On a slightly personal note…I have this ongoing “argument” in my household with my housemates (daughter and boyfriend) that “THEY consume too much energy, and THEY should be more like me 🙂 ” Of course that never goes over well. So, I selfishly decided to call Clarino and get a third party opinion, knowing that if he said it, they’d listen.

Everyone in my household has their own “weaknesses”. My daughter like to run her laptop computer (plugged in) 24/7. My boyfriend LOVES his 50″ plasma TV and I appreciate good lighting in the evening. My entire argument was centered around changing THEIR consumption as I felt like my contribution was small because I only need 2 or 3 hours of lighting in the evening and I’m willing to pay for the luxury of incandescent, dimmable lights. I plan on converting to LED lights in the near future. So, I’M NOT the problem. Right?

Well, overall, I was very pleased with our meeting and found it very useful. I found out that on average, for Kauai, residential homes consume 492 KWH per month. My house is at 324 KWH per month. That made me happy. I’d already done most of the hard work converting to gas, and buying a new refrigerator, washing full loads of laundry, not running the AC, etc.

But wouldn’t you know it?? The largest consumption of energy in my household that can and should be changed to even further drop my consumption (and subsequently my electric bill): the Plasma TV, the computer being plugged in and the incandescent lighting. In that order. I win! sort of…guess I’ll be buying those LED’s sooner rather than later.

In closing, we’re all responsible for our energy consumption, and conservation. I suggest everyone call Clarino at KIUC 808-246-8280 and get the FREE Energy Audit. It was worth it!

Other useful tips:
Dim your incandescent dimmable lights
Unplug laptop computers at the wall, not the computer. Or turn off power strip where a laptop is plugged into.
Turn off fans halfway through the night
Turn refrigerator temp up to 38-40, Freezer to 0
turn off subwoofer for home stereo system when not in use (estimated savings $15/mo.)

You Get What You Pay For

Rusted within 1 year of installation

Rusted sink faucets and stained sink

Bath tub stains can’t get clean, caulking molds

You get what you pay for. Everyone has heard it a hundred times, but it’s true! If you try to scrimp on the front end, you’ll pay for it in the long run. Sometimes you need to take the quickest, cheapest route, just to get something done and that’s okay. But be prepared to have to replace your material quicker and more often than if you’d invested in the good stuff from the beginning. This also goes for choosing a Contractor.

For example, in my own home, I am always on a budget and I’ve been remodeling my house for 6 years now. Of course I have visited Big Box Stores for a ton of things because they are inexpensive. However, I have NOT been happy with the quality and am looking at having to replace existing fixtures and it’s only been 6 years. When I ask people in the industry why is my stuff rusting and stained and falling apart? They all say the same thing…where did you get it? The Big Box Store? What do you expect? See my pics to view my own experience.

This is not a blog to boycott The Big Box Stores. But it is a blog to help our potential clientele understand why we don’t use their products, or prices, when bidding jobs. A lot of times we have clients who do their own research when they’re looking to build or remodel. And they’re usually a little taken back when they get our bid price and they can’t justify the cost. A handful of times they find a lower bidder and if cost is their only driving force, we lose the job.

Well, using cost as a the only factor in choosing your Contractor is no different. We go for the good stuff! You’ve asked us to bid a job of quality and endurance and great looks! And to be a responsible builder who takes extreme pride in our work, we quite honestly can’t justify using substandard products or labor. This goes for counter tops, cabinets, paint, appliances, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, flooring, and more.  Not to mention experience and craftsmanship. Our crew has over 40 years of experience. That along with qualified subcontractors and great suppliers make a great team.

Again, we love Big Box Stores for their convenience and cost savings for certain things. But for a quality finished product, let us guide you in the right direction and get you the good stuff. You won’t be disappointed. The service is WAY better, the warranties are better and you support local businesses who struggle to compete with Big Box Stores. You might even walk away with a new friend or two.

Hawaii has highest electric rates in the Country

Go Solar: Hawaii has highest electric rates in the nation…ideas to cut costs:

It’s a well-known fact, to us in Hawaii, that we pay the highest rates per kWh in the nation.

Residential rates: (according to, and
Kauai: .34/kWh
Oahu: .25/kWh
Maui: .29/kWh
Big Island: .36 /kWh

Mainland counterparts: (according to, and
Texas: .12/ kWh
California: .14/kWh
New Mexico: .10/kWh
Washington State: .07/kWh
Maine: .15/kWh
Florida: .12/kWh

People like to purchase electric water heaters because their cheap, at least on the front end. Costs approx. $700. But, did you know that an electric water heater can account for 40%-50% of your electric bill? In Hawaii, that’s at least $100/mo. On average just to heat water. The problem with an electric water heater is that it clicks on and off all day long heating water whether it’s being used or not.

Solar water heating systems run from $5000 to $7000 depending on size, but the savings in the long run are tremendous. Solar Photovoltaic which can power the electricity in your house cost approx. $10,000 to $15,000 to install, depending on size. But I’m told by those who have it that their electric bill is $20/mo. or less (for PV). In addition, there are generous rebates offered by Federal, State and County incentive programs today and even financing by individual solar installers. Call KIUC for more info on rebates (808) 246 8280 or visit They can lead you to the pre-approved plumbers who install these systems. Rumor has it 65% of the cost is rebated to the customer.

If that is too much of a burden on your pocket book, the next best thing in water heating, is gas tank-less water heaters. At least they only heat water upon demand. And being gas inspired, they cut down on your electrical draw. I have one at my house. It works quietly and efficiently and I can wash multiple loads of laundry and long hot showers, guilt-free. My unit cost $1000 and easily services the whole house. My gas bill is approx. $60/month. which is the highest its ever been due to current oil prices. But I also run a gas dryer, and a gas stove in addition to my water heater.

At the very least, buy a heat pump which can reduce the standard electric bill by 30%. A heat pump can also double as a mini AC unit as it disperses cool air in exchange for the heat intake. Heat pumps cost approx. $2000 installed.

It’s fair to say, you pay one way or another; save upfront, or save in the end. With our dependence on fluctuating oil prices, and the uncertainty of future energy costs, having the ability to use a “free” and natural source like the sun makes the best sense. Especially now with incentives and financing.

How To Find a Builder or Remodeler on Kauai

Checklist for Finding and Hiring a Builder or Remodeler

Doing your homework will help you have a more successful experience.

  • Contact your local home builders’ association for the names of member builders and remodelers:  call Contractors Association of Kauai 808-246-8642.  You can also ask family, friends or coworkers for recommendations.
  • Make sure the builder/remodeler is licensed and insured!  Many will tell you they are but are not!  The home owner is liable to pay all subcontractors hired if the general contractor skips town.  If you don’t pay, they can put a lien on your house.  Check with the DCCA website for actively licensed Contractors., navigate to the PVL link (Professional and Vocational Licensing).
  • Make sure the builder or home remodeler has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.
  • Find out how long they have been in the building business. It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. You want to make sure they will be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties.
  • Check out the company’s rating and if there have been any complaints filed with your local Better Business Bureau:
  • Make sure the builder/remodeler has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises.
  • Ask the builder/remodeler to provide you with references of previous customers. If they won’t, beware. If they do, ask the customers if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.
  • Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder/remodeler? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and for some time afterward as you get settled in.
  • Make sure the builder/remodeler provides you with a complete and clearly written contract. The contract will benefit both of you.
  • Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids.  Keep in mind that less expensive does not necessarily mean better!  Its expensive to be run a legitimate business in Hawaii.  Licensing, insurance, and retaining quality workers  come with a price.  Don’t skimp on the front end to leave yourself vulnerable with all the unknowns.  In addition, following all OSHA standards is still a requirement by home owners not using a licensed contractor.  You will be responsible for their safety on your job.  Leave this to the professionals.  You are paying for peace of mind.


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