Recap: Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time started on Sunday, Match 11. Did you turn back your clocks? Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we have been enjoying the start of Summer Time, and look forward to having daylight further into the evening (and the temperature rise that will accompany it).

Did you take our suggestion to perform any home maintenance tasks while you were updating your clocks? If you need a quick reminder, here are some of the bi-annual tasks that we suggested:

  • Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test your home’s security system.
  • Clean carpets and rugs, shower curtains, and your pantry and fridge.
  • Flip the mattresses in your home.
  • Restock your home’s emergency kit according to the recommendations on Ready.gov.

And make sure that you check out the original Daylight Saving Time blog post for additional history and fun facts about DST that you can share with your family and friends.

We would love to heat about which of these chores you got checked off your list! And remember, Vargas and Vargas Insurance agents are always available to help with all of your insurance needs, whether it’s Standard Time or Saving Time – just call our office at 617-298-0655 to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert.

The Complete Daylight Saving Time Checklist

This Sunday, March 11, is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. This means that before you go to bed on Saturday, you should turn your clocks forward one hour, since the 2am – 3am hour on Sunday will be skipped in order to shift the daylight hours into the evening for the Spring and Summer months. It will stay this way until Sunday November 4, 2018 when the 2am hour will be repeated in order to shift daylight earlier once more.

The History of Daylight Saving Time

Twice a year, we change our clocks – Spring Forward and Fall Back, just like we were taught as young kids. Have you ever wondered why this bizarre ritual exists? It turns out that the practice was officially started in World War I in an effort to conserve fuel for the war effort – first in Germany, then in the rest of Europe. The US adopted the practice in 1918 and abandoned it shortly after. During the Energy Crisis, however, the practice was brought back for good. The Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act was signed by President Nixon in 1973 in order to make the bi-annual shift permanent.

Internationally, only about 40 percent of the world’s countries observe the time change. There are even some states that don’t change their clocks, including Arizona and Hawaii. Overseas territories like American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands have also opted out of participating in DST.

Fun Facts about DST

  • In 2007, it was extended. Now summer hours last about a month longer. This is at least in part so that the clocks move back in the fall after Halloween, allowing children to trick-or-treat in more daylight. This was proposed by (who else?) the candy industry.
  • There is also a thought that pushing the end of DST to the first Sunday in November will increase voter turnout in elections, since Election Day will now sometimes be during “Summer Hours,” and people could stop to vote on their way home from work while there is still daylight.
  • Although originally enacted in order to save energy, there have been studies that show that little to no energy is actually saved when the clocks shift to Daylight Saving Time.
  • Pay attention to how you write times when you schedule meetings: during the winter, we are in “Standard Time” and during the summer we switch to “Daylight Time.” This means that here in Massachusetts (and along the east coast) we are switching from EST to EDT.
  • Think about those born at the end of DST: in the Fall, the first of a set of twins or multiples could be born prior to 2am, but since the hour is repeated, those born later could have an earlier time on their birth certificate than their “older” siblings.

Chores for Your DST “To-Do” List

The changing of the clocks forward and back is a perfect reminder to perform other bi-annual household chores. So, think about giving yourself a “Daylight Saving Time” checklist, including the following tasks:

The first thing on the DST checklist is obvious: at Daylight Saving Time, you need to change the clocks! In the Spring, the clocks move forward one hour, and in the Fall, they move back an hour. Your cell phone and other electronics will change automatically, but alarm clocks and the time on appliances will likely need to be changed by hand.

Something else that you need to do twice a year is to test and change the batteries in your smoke alarms. It is critical to the safety of your loved ones that these items work properly, so it is recommended to test the batteries at least twice a year so that you’re warned if there is a fire in the house. Also change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors and security system, if needed.

There are several items in your home that deserve a bi-annual cleaning. This will vary according to your personal preferences, but often includes carpets and rugs (including under heavy furniture), windows and window treatments, shower curtains and liners, ceiling fans, and a complete cleaning out of the pantry and fridge. And don’t forget to flip or turn your mattress regularly to improve its longevity and your comfort.

Do you have an emergency kit in your home? You should, after all, you never know when you may end up needing it. Take the opportunity to update and restock your emergency kit when you change your clocks. Your emergency kit should include many items, including at least three gallons of water per person in your home, a three day supply of non-perishable food, medications, important documents (like copies of your insurance policies) and a flashlight with fresh batteries. See the entire list of recommendations at Ready.gov.

Remember that you should also schedule a regular meeting with your local independent insurance agent. Whether you do it as a part of your DST checklist, at the beginning of the year, as a part of your Spring Cleaning, or even on your Birthday, it’s a good way to check in on your insurance policies and to make sure that you and your loved ones have enough coverage.

To schedule a meeting with a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent, just call 617-298-0655 today. We will be happy to review your Massachusetts home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and more! It only takes a few minutes to review your insurance policies, so don’t wait – call today.

How to Make the Most of an Afternoon Nap

It is truly unfortunate that napping is associated with laziness in today’s society. In truth, there are many benefits to polyphasic sleep, including lower stress levels and increased mood. Whether you need an emergency nap on a busy day, or you make it a point to get a snooze in every day, ensure that you get the most out of your afternoon siesta with the following tips:

  • Limit your nap to 20-30 minutes. This length has been proven to increase alertness without inducing grogginess or sleep inertia.
  • Choose your environment wisely – a nap while riding the T will never be as restful as one on a quiet couch or bed.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep for a nap, try using meditation techniques like breathing exercises to calm your mind.
  • Combine the benefits of napping and caffeine by having a coffee right before a short nap. When you wake up, you should be feeling the effects of both for a double boost!
  • Lavender is a scent that naturally lowers heart rate and blood pressure, so it can help you relax before you attempt to drift off.

Once you awaken from your nap, you will be more alert and ready to take on any task. Similarly, here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency we are ready to help you with all of your insurance needs! Call 617-298-0655 to speak to one of our agents about a free and no-obligation review of all of your insurance policies – we can make sure that you are fully covered and that you’re not overpaying for your policies. Sweet dreams!

Change happens when we take massive and specific action…

This might shock you, but complacency kills!

 

As you know, I like to start every week with some words of wisdom, and this weeks are:

 

“Change happens when we take massive and specific action. It rarely happens by easing our way into the process. Either risk it or we don’t. Either go 100% or 0%. Gradual and timid change will lead to drawback to our comfort zone. It’s nearly impossible to move forward without a committed and courageous leap.”

-Author unknown

 

I told a friend the other day that I don’t understand people who say they are having trouble staying motivated. I said something like “If you’re passionate about what you do, you’re going to be motivated. If you’re not, get out of where you’re at, find what you are passionate about, and get to it. Life is too short!”

 

Motivation is a Choice

Motivation is part of everything you work on. It’s a task to check off. You have to motivate yourself because you have to stay on target. If your goal is to eat well, then there are times when you’re going to want to have some pizza with friends, but it’ll be your job to say, “I’ve got bigger plans, and this pizza is not a part of them.”

 

I try to workout daily, usually with my wife Kathy, or with my friends Jeff, Paulo and Jason, and I try to eat healthy. But sometimes I would MUCH rather eat lobster mac and cheese and chocolate cake than another five ounces of steamed chicken breast and broccoli. But I have to remind myself that I like the place that my healthy lifestyle journey has taken me. After all, motivation is something one must consciously choose. And remember – complacency kills:

 

“Complacency is a sword of two edges. One edge kills hard earned successes while the other end stops future glories. Complacency is a murderer and a barrier!” — Israelmore Ayivor

 

How to Motivate Yourself:

  • Work towards those goals with a plan, not with a hope and a prayer
  • Have written reminders of your goal or target everywhere – make sure you see these notes throughout the day
  • Keep a small note (I use Evernote) with a list of reminders as to why this goal is important to you
  • Review your goal, your plan, and your reminders daily
  • If you’re in jeopardy of slipping, phone a friend (or you can always call me – I would love to help you stay on target and reach your goals)
  • Remember that discomfort is temporary, and at times can even be a good thing
  • And there’s the ever delightful “suck it up, buttercup” to remind yourself to stop complaining (which saps motivation like nothing else can)

 

It’s always YOUR job to motivate yourself. Not your boss. Not your significant other. Not mom or dad. Only you own that role. It’s YOUR job. It’s YOUR choice. You can’t pass this monkey off to anyone else.

 

Target – Plan – Reminders – Review – Repeat. Just like that. Got it? That’s all there is to it!

 

Know that you are loved!

 

Carlos

 

“Change is hard, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

“Change is hard, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
-Robin Sharma

Change is hard. I know this for a fact, as I’m experiencing it right now!

Picture this…I’m sitting in my house right now instead of sitting in traffic like I’ve done for 37 years.

As you probably know from my online posts, Kathy and I moved from our Stoughton home of 33 years to Dorchester Lower Mills, just around the corner from the Vargas and Vargas office. Believe me, this change has not been easy all the time, but change never is – even when we know it is the right thing to do.

One of the upsides of our move has been that we now spend less time in traffic, and have more time together, more time to get regular exercise, and more time in the wonderful community of Dorchester.

Recently, Vargas and Vargas has also made some changes. We have updated our client management system and our website (you can now send us a TEXT to our agency 617-213-2820 and much more to come, stay tuned) to help customers and friends like you contact our trusted referral partners!

We’ve always had a partners page on our site, but we hope that this will be a resource for you and anyone you know that is looking for any of the following professionals:

  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Contractor
  • Electrician
  • Estate Planner
  • Financial Advisor
  • Home Inspector
  • Loan Officer
  • Plumber
  • Realtor®
  • And More!

(Send me a message and I can let you know how you be on our partner’s list)

And while you are visiting our new website, don’t forget to check out our blog. It is always being updated with insurance tips, helpful advice, and much more.

How to Start Recycling – We Can Help!
Auto Insurance Q&A: Borrowing the Car
Best and Worst Places to Store Your Wedding Rings
Building Permits for Residential Renovations

So what does our change of address have to do with making you more money?

Many professionals start their businesses filled with excitement and passion for their new venture, but quickly realize that building a brand is hard work! Once that realization sets in and business problems begin to surface, it is very easy to get disgruntled and lose your motivation for what you originally set out to accomplish.

In the beginning, your passion creates energy that keeps you moving forward, builds excitement for the next project, and helps overcome fears and obstacles. However, maintaining that passion can be difficult as time goes on, and you might find yourself in a “rut,” or longing to reconnect with the spark that once drove your business. Whether this longing resonates with you currently or you’re teetering back and forth on the fence of business growth, it’s imperative to implement 6 practices into your business to regain focus and reignite your flame! We’ll cover the first 3 this week, so stay tuned for next week’s insider to tie all 6 together!

1. Stay focused on your core business – There are a million money making ideas out there that can distract you from what your core business is all about. If you can’t draw a direct connection from a new loan or listing to your new venture, scrap it! It will only distract you from making money and growing your business.

2. Take inspiration from SUCCESSFUL professionals – Surround yourself with positive individuals who have achieved success and are passionate about what they do. They’ll motivate, excite and remind you of why you’re in business. The right individuals will build you up with a “can do” attitude, and offer you proven methods of achieving your goals.

3. Manage your time effectively – Unfortunately, if you don’t set aside time to do important tasks like following up with new clients and building referral relationships (making FROG calls), phone calls and emails can keep you busy all day long! Make sure that you schedule time in your day that’s committed to taking care of the fundamentals of business development which make you money and keep you excited! If you need assistance with time blocking, I can help!

And know that you are LOVED!

Carlos