5 Ways to Stay Motivated at Work

So let me paint the picture: you’re into the final weeks of your work year, Christmas posters are going up, the days are getting warmer, your Christmas tree is threatening to make an appearance, and you pretty sure you have caught yourself humming a carol or two already. Now if you are anything like me all this excites you very very much! I LOVE the Holidays!

There’s just one minor problem, there is still 3 or 4 weeks of work to go. So how am I going to stay focused and motivated?

Well, this is what I’m going to try and my 5 tips to you.

  1. Reflect

“So what do you mean Sher?”

What I mean is, surely you had some goals or aspirations coming into this year? Perhaps you reached them? So congratulate yourself! Be proud of the things you achieved this year.

On the other hand, maybe you didn’t reach them? Perhaps you are still an overweight smoker who curses too much and still spends way too much time on social media?

Well, it’s not too late… and that brings me to point number 2.

  1. Make a to-do-list

Decide how many days you still have to accomplish a few of these goals you have left for this year, and maybe make the goal now, just to start these things, no one is expecting you to perform miracles and lose, say 10kgs in 30 days, but maybe just start eating a little healthier, go to the gym or simply just start drinking more water.

Maybe you had planned to spend more time with your kids this year and less time taking quizzes on Facebook to find out what kitchen appliance you are?

Well then, firstly stop doing that immediately! Set out 15 minutes a day and just have a chat with them, read to them or whatever. You know what your kids need, and what they would appreciate, and of course, this could go for a partner, family member or even friend. I promise this one will make you feel way better about yourself like no kitchen appliance ever could.

  1. Take time out

Now, this is important, so listen.

Take your tea time. Take your lunch time. Take a walk. Take a nap.

Listen to your body. We all know this year like all years has been a long one and yet it has gone by so fast. We also know work doesn’t slow down because you have taken a sick day perhaps, or tragedy hit your family, so now you a little behind on a project or deadline? Well, you are no good to yourself if you are tired and miserable. So look after yourself first, then take a deep breath pumpkin, and make that to-do-list I just spoke about!

  1. Get excited!!

If you are anything like me, finishing something gives you a huge sense of accomplishment. So once you have reflected, and made your list of things that need to be done – Get Them Done! And feel the excitement of clearing your list, nearing the end with a clean slate and what next year may bring. This is the end of a decade people! Let that sink in!! Next year is a whole new beginning, and I for one cannot wait to start a new work year (after a ton of sun and a little gin of course), set new goals, break new boundaries and achieve, achieve, achieve!

Now, this next one is not really something you can do for yourself to stay motivated, but rather a little advice to help keep the people around you less motivated to want to kill you in the work place.

  1. Work Consideration

I’m not sure what it is about us humans, but we always seem to think our load is heavier, our hardship is more severe and we are more tired or broke than the next.

Yes, you know what I mean. Well, quit it! We are all tired, we all have daily struggles and most importantly we are all in this together so be kind, smile at each other, complement each other and just be less annoying. Try crunching, slurp, pen click and foot-tapping less at your desks. Keep your eye on the prize.

We are almost there, let’s get stuff done and be awesome doing it!

And on that note, I would like to wish you all a wonderful end of the year and holiday to follow, enjoy the parties, the family, the trips, trees, prezzies and carols and stay safe!

See you next decade!


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About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.

Building Relationships: One Construction Project at a Time

 

More importantly, is that everyone can build strong relationships no matter what industry you’re in or what your title may be. It’s important to build the right relationships with the right people. Strong relationships between general contractors and subcontractors are important for a successful project. These relationships don’t mature overnight, and it takes time and effort from both parties to build a level of trust that evolves into a strong working partnership.

Main contractors
When a client hires a contractor to build or renovate a property, the company is legally responsible for completing all of the required work. Main contractors are thinkers. They work with you through the entire project, from the idea phase to the finished product. By contrast, subcontractors come and go. They specialize in certain areas of the construction process, like large equipment operation, concrete formulation, plumbing, electricity and carpentry. They enter a project to do a particular task and leave when that task is finished.

Subcontractors
If you’re bidding to a general contractor for the first time this is your opportunity to make a strong first impression.
Communicate! Keep in contact with the site supervisor and project manager with updates on your progress and advise them immediately of any issues or potential delays that might impact other subcontractors on the job or the overall project timeline.
Choose the right team for the job. Make sure your workers act and perform their duties safely and professionally. Be organized. Practice good housekeeping and clean up after every workday, picking up tools and equipment and disposing of any construction waste as you go.
Show up to the job site every day with the tools, equipment, materials, and workers you need to get the day’s work done. Subcontractors may be tempted to take on a job that is outside the scope of their capabilities allowing the subcontractors a window of time at either end of the project will ensure all their work will be finished within the project time frame. Preparing for delays will prevent the project from running overtime and therefore going over budget. Following these suggestions will lower the chances for disappointment and maintain a positive relationship between you and your subcontractor. Partnerships between contractors and subcontractors are vital for any business. In fact, this relationship is beneficial to both parties involved.
A subcontractor agreement usually exists between a contractor and a subcontractor. It outlines information similar to the conditions detailed in a contractor agreement. In most instances, the contractor will be responsible for compensating the subcontractor and the subcontractor is required to complete certain tasks for the contractor. Both a contractor and subcontractor work together to complete specified duties for a company or an individual.

Vendor/Suppliers
Main contractors and subcontractors often tend to ignore one thing: supplier relationship management. Effective supplier relationship management increases profitability and drives efficiencies for businesses.
Leads 2 Business has a service called Leads 2 Quotes and Open Quotes. (www.L2B.co.za) Vendor/Suppliers receives RFQ from main /sub-contractors as a preferred vendor via email, submit your RFQ’s (request for quotes) online. Easy access to vendor/suppliers within the area of work. You will be able to view which contractors prefer your business and interact directly with you regarding your service and product offerings.
This is a professional platform to enable anyone to build a solid relationship between Contractors and Suppliers.
As much as company culture is important to your business, it should also manifest in your supplier. Values such as speed, quality, excellence, innovation, and reliability are existent in trustworthy companies and you want to be sure that the same can be said about your own suppliers

Available Cash
You have payments due to subs, employees, vendors, materials suppliers, and equipment renters but you don’t get paid until the project is complete. If you want to have a solid relationship with your subbies, treat them how you would want to be treated, and pay them on time, every time
Nothing will ever run a 100% smoothly in construction at any given time. When there is a bump in the road, fingers start pointing. If you have a positive attitude and are working with subcontractors you trust; it will be easy to establish a good working relationship
Good business relationship management can lead to loyalty, which is important in terms of finding suppliers and subcontractors that can be trusted. This applies to tender bids as well as project delivery. Professionalism should be demonstrated at all times, as well as open and honest communication, efficiency and consideration when dealing with their needs and requirements

There are plenty of tools and online resources out there to help keep you and your business organized

Whether you are a “leader” or a follower, you can build a community of friends, colleagues, associates, allies, partners, and buddies around you. Together, there is no telling what you can do. Building Relationships: One Construction Project at a Time

Sources:
ProjectSmart
GenieBelt


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About Nirasha Rampersad

I started working for Leads to Business June 2017 as Support Assistance in L2Q.

15 Ways to Renovate on a Budget

Everybody wants a beautiful living space, a space in which to unwind and relax and shrug off the stresses of day-to-day life.
Your home should be your sanctuary, your place to escape and just be.

Here are my 15 Ways to Renovate on a Budget.

First and foremost:

1. Establish a Budget and Don’t Budge
It is so easy to get caught up in the beautifying process that one can easily go over what has been budgeted for.

2. Pay Cash
You are wanting to create an environment that allows you to come home, kick off your shoes and relax after a long day, not one that causes you to pull your hair out while you are number-crunching until the wee hours of the morning because of credit card debt. As far as is possible, buy your materials with cash.

3. Check Your Prices
Don’t just go into one store to find all your prices, if you are going into a large store, there is every possibility that you might get caught up in some slick sales talk and wind up going over your budget, go to a few stores, get quotes and compare prices.

4. Clean Up
Before starting a project, clean up. Be ruthless with yourself if necessary. I tend to suffer from sente(mental)ity, there are dozens of keepsakes that we are given by children along the way and they get hung up on the fridge and such, in the pursuit of cleaning up, if it isn’t going to serve a purpose, take a photo of it and then chuck it.

5. Set a Time Limit
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if there wasn’t a time frame to work within, it would still be under construction. Again, because time is precious, you don’t want to lose precious time with your family.

6. All Hands on Deck
When you take on a renovation project, instead of employing a company to do the work for you, why not get the whole family involved, this creates friendship and most of all, ownership.

7. Recycle, or upcycle.
There are so many good ideas of how to transform “junk” into useful items on Pinterest, so, get pinning!

8. Feature Walls
Instead of painting out a whole area, consider painting a feature wall. The idea behind this is to create the illusion of space, it’s also a great way to allow yourself to have fun and to get creative with colour and also cost-effective when purchasing paints.

9. Consider LED
LED lights need not be BRIGHT, there are different shades to choose from, depending on your needs, a cool white would better suit a kitchen or bathroom, where a warm white would suit lounges and bedrooms, as older globes go, consider changing up and save on your electricity costs and doing your bit for the environment.

10. Consider Skylights
This is a great way to add natural lighting to your home in strategic places and also to cut your daytime electricity costs, work out the pros and cons of adding a skylight and as far as possible try to calculate what you would save in lighting up those areas.

11. Do It Yourself.
If you can build shelves, lay tiles or even paint, then you have already saved some money that can be utilized elsewhere.

12. Add Plants
Well placed plants have a way of lighting up spaces, you would do well to consult with your local garden centre to obtain some advice as to which plants are best suited to which areas, for example, it would not be a good idea to put a cactus in the bathroom.

13. Go Green
There is a lot of focus on the environment and lessening our footprint, If you are updating your bathroom, why not look at going green, Low flow toilets and low flow showerheads will not only help you do your part for the environment, but it will also help you to save money.

14. Work Party
The community my family belongs to believes that it takes a village….not only to raise a child but to do things like this. An old-fashioned work party is a great way to get a large part of the job done and an after-work braai is a great way to connect with one another after the work is done.

15. Have Fun!
You are doing this to give you a space to make amazing memories with your family and friends, don’t lose yourself in the mess, you are making memories as you go, it might be hard work now, but the payoff will be better.


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Solar Cities

In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered electricity could be generated by sunlight. He claimed that “Shining light on an electrode submerged in a conductive solution would create an electric current.” Solar energy is now utilized and recognized all over the world.

Solar cities would be very beneficial in South Africa due to our current restraints with Eskom and the load shedding each one of us has had to endure on and off for the past 12 years. Solar Energy is free and being a third world County, this would be viable and It would be great not having to depend on Eskom for electricity.  Utilizing Solar panels will save you money and reduce your lights account.

Many South African are currently utilizing solar energy to power the following:

  • Watches
  • Calculators
  • Lighting
  • Water pumps
  • Water heaters

Solar energy hold’s the most potential in South Africa due to the fact that we receive a large amount of radioactive energy. Solar Energy is renewable, meaning we will never run out of sunshine. Wind energy could also be unitized in South Africa, especially around our coastal areas.

Counties that make the most use of Solar power would be:

  • China
  • United States of America
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia

The initial cost of setting up a solar running house or city is at a high rate, however, the saving, in the long run, is thousands of rand.

Sources:
Feedspot
Google
HomeInsulations


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Safety shouldn’t be Complicated

Safety (noun); the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.

Safety really should not be complicated. Sometimes taking all the safety precautions can end with injury and in some extreme cases, even death.

Some examples spring to mind…
20 years or so ago, my school friend was travelling from Durban to Pietermaritzburg with her father, and they had an accident. Emergency personnel could not free her from her safety belt, and she ended up being burnt to death.

In some other cases, some people might still be alive if they had their safety belts on, which would have stopped them getting ejected through the windscreen. Buckle up and maybe carry a knife on you just in case you need to free yourself.

Then there are a couple of cases where timber workers, felling trees, end up with the tree falling in the wrong direction, or maybe they were just standing in the wrong place at the wrong time and got hit by it; instant death. Protective clothing and helmets did not help in these cases, but maybe if they had a better knowledge or were more aware of their position, they might still be alive.

Whilst you may have heard of these safety rules before, some do need repeating:

  • Stay alert and stay alive. The more awake you are, the less likely you will get hurt. I don’t know how many times I have driven on the N3 and seen trucks overturned. Rest when you feel tired. Rather get there alive, than in pieces.
  • Wear the correct clothing. Protective clothing should fit properly. Wear your protective helmet. You never know when an accident may occur. Be prepared.
  • Use the right tools. If you need a spanner, use it. Using incorrect equipment is just asking for trouble.
  • Don’t play pranks. Practical jokes can be dangerous, especially around heavy machinery.
  • Be tidy. This will reduce hazards. Always put your tools away when you are not using them and keep your floors clean and clutter-free. A slip or fall may just end up being a hospital call.
  • Do not take chances or shortcuts. Do it right, and do it safely. Short cuts are probably the biggest killer of all. To save a minute or two, you may lose a life.

If you follow all the safety precautions and still end up getting hurt, get first aid immediately. Neglect of an injury could lead to infection, loss of work time and in some cases, permanent injury.

Remember, your safety is your responsibility. If you are in doubt, contact your supervisor or manager for instruction, guidance, or training.

Safety is not complicated, but it is a choice. Choose wisely.


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About Melanie Miles

One girl who would rather wear boots than high heels...

How to Build Bridges without Building Walls

Building bridges in a metaphoric term means to open up, invite people into your personal space, and create relationships with people outside of your comfort zone. This is never an easy thing to do; as we get older it gets harder to “Build Bridges” and allow people to see a more vulnerable  side of yourself. This is when we “put up walls” so we don’t appear weak to new people: – for example colleagues or clients.

When it comes to a business and the workplace, companies want employees to be able to be open and honest with each other within the Business (Building Bridges) this then creates a positive outlook when it comes to prospective and/or existing clients. With these “bridges built” within a company, it creates an atmosphere for us to be able to go out and impress clients as a collective and not individuals; therefore boosting our power within our prospective network. Empowering businesses and employees to strive for excellence. Every employee can “add a brick to the bridge”  by striving for a positive office environment, as well as when representing the company by portraying a sense of professionalism.

Walls are important when building a solid structure such as an office block or building a new mall, but “Walls” are not good in a working environment. Walls are a metaphor for anything that is creating a negative block; walls contain a build-up of negative energy.  When employees or even management of a company or businesses build walls, it can cause in office fighting and a lack of trust between management and employees.

There is going to be times when walls are going to be built, but it is important to break down those walls and build bridges.

Pope Francis quoted; “Build bridges, and tear down walls.”

 

Sources:
World Economic Forum
The Human Wi-Fi

 


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About Naomi Konigkramer

I have been at Leads to Business for 5 months, I have learned so many new things. I am very happy to be part of the Daily Tenders Department.

World’s Funniest Engineering Fails – Bridges

World’s Funniest Engineering Fails – Bridges

When building of a bridge is conducted it’s a convoluted situation requiring knowledge and proficiency. Various key aspects come into play, such as costs, Engineering limits, and Environmental Impacts, when deciding which construction method to use and bridge type to build. These are all aspects to look at before construction takes place. There are also numerous reasons bridge Engineering could conceivably fail such as Environmental issues (floods, fires, Earthquakes); construction incidents, and most commonly design flaws.

We depend on professionals to seemingly take note of all these aspects.

In the line of history, Engineers have made many mistakes that make us just wonder? “What in the act of engineering are you doing?”

 

A few examples of the world’s funniest Bridge Engineering fails include:
“Just meet me half way…”
Copenhagen’s Kissing bridge.
Located in Denmark, The construction started in 2011 and it was ‘intended’ to open in 2013. The bridge had several errors one of which was being misaligned (Not meeting in the middle) that delayed the construction for just over 2 years. The bridge that did not end up kissing. They had one job, one job…

Another example, is right under our noses, situated in South Africa.

“ To be continued…”
The Foreshore Freeway Bridge in Cape Town also known as the “unfinished bridge”. The construction started in 1977, and due to lack of funding it was never finished. The purpose of a bridge structure is to bear a passage, #justsaying. This unfinished business has somewhat become a tourist attraction in the City of Cape Town. So there is at least one positive aspect to this failure.

As history has proven to us that not every Engineer takes note of precision – but, we surely hope that our future Engineers would take note of these mistakes and hopefully learn from them, as amusing as they may be.


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Why are Bridges Built?

Why are Bridges Built?

I am not much of a Blogger, so let me just “build a bridge” and get over it.

Why do we need or build bridges?
Bridges have been built and used since ancient times, used to carry traffic or humans across an area of obstruction where they are unable to get across.

The benefits of Bridges:
Connecting people, goods and transport
Safety
Reduce traffic and collisions
Easy access (easy passage over obstacles)

The negative impact of Bridges:
Bridges can also be harmful to our environment, can harm trees, cause pollution of our waters, chemicals from vehicles and construction can contaminate the water via precipitation. The construction of bridges can also drastically change the environment and impose serious health issues.

How Bridges have evolved:
From cutting a tree, dragging it into position to serve as a plank, to tying rafts together to form a pontoon, to modern bridges, where you, me and any mode of transport can utilise.

Out with the old and in with the new:

The world’s longest sea crossing: The bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the Mainland Chinese City of Zhuhai.

Bridges are beautiful, a masterpiece designed by the hands of architects and art in the eyes of humankind.

Tip of the Day: Build and never burn your bridges

Sources:
Geograph
Flickr
Alamy
Wikipedia
BBC


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About Michelle Ngubo

I have been working at L2B since March 2014 and my current position is Content Researcher - Africa Department and Classy is the best word that describes me.

Common Mistakes in Bridge Construction

Common Mistakes in Bridge Construction

The best way to avoid bridge failures is to expect them to happen and develop a good risk management strategy. Don’t just wait to cross that bridge when you get there. This is the only way to protect the public from injuries, loss of life, property damage and destruction. Some bridge collapses are mysteries when they first happen. It isn’t until a detailed investigation is completed that the true cause is revealed.

I am going to list a few common mistakes in bridge construction:

1. Poor Bridge Maintenance: The collapsing of bridges could be prevented with more strict inspections and frequent routine maintenance. Rusted parts must be replaced, drainage areas cleared in case of natural disasters and reinforcements added especially when the use of the bridge has increased. The Connecticut Turnpike over the Mianus River collapsed due to the failure of steel pins that had corroded. I can not believe the lack of bridge maintenance! Can’t get over it.

2. Cheap Materials: A bridge is only as strong as what it’s built with. No one likes to spend money, but excessive cost-cutting can leave the bridge vulnerable to collapses. Not only is the bridge put in a more precarious situation, but saving money on materials can also lead to more costly repairs down the line.

3. Design Defect: While some bridges are constructed perfectly with high-end materials, they can still fail if the design is flawed. Bridges with a poor design could fail to hold enough weight or withstand natural conditions. There are bridges whose collapse was unpreventable before the bridge was ever built.

4. Natural Disasters: Today’s changing climate and the extreme weather events associated with it is causing chaotic weather. Most collapses happen on bridges that were built a long time ago when designers couldn’t imagine the kind of storms they’d have to withstand today. We can’t control the weather, but we can build structures strong enough to withstand such natural disasters. There is always room for improvement.

5. Accidents: Whether it’s a truck hitting a support post, a train falling off the tracks or a boat colliding into a foundation, accidents are one of the leading reasons bridges are damaged or come down. Bridge engineers must plan for all types of incidents. They will have to also bear in mind what the future holds for us. Will there be driverless cars, larger ocean tankers, and cruise ships, along with pilotless drones that could impact bridges in the near and distant future? I think it’s possible, most of it is already happening.

I am definitely no expert in any of these aspects, but keep these failures in mind next time you sitting in your car under a train bridge and the robot for you to go is red.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Civil Digital
Asset Works
Engineers Journal


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About Sonet Du Plooy

I started working at Leads 2 Business in 2014. I was part of the Tenders Africa team and have now recently moved to Private Projects. I love every second of it!

Terrific Reasons to Hire a Contractor

So you want to build your own home? Perhaps you own a house already and want to modify or extend the existing space. Maybe you just want to add a swimming pool or a lock-up garage.

Many people undertake DIY construction projects without the consultation or employment of an experienced contractor. Many of these projects turn out to be successful, but can also come with various challenges.

If you want to remove the stress element, consider hiring a contractor for the following reasons.

  • Experience

Appoint a construction company that has a wealth of expertise in the industry. An experienced contractor will know exactly what is required for your project to be completed safely and within your budget and time frame.

  • Quality of Work

More often than not, experienced contractors have skilled in-house teams and external sub-contractor teams that have likely worked together on numerous projects. This provides you with peace of mind that your project will be carried out with quality workmanship.

  • Compliance with the Law

It would be wise to appoint a contractor who is an expert in complying with South Africa’s National Building Regulations (NBR). Your appointed contractor should know how to carry out the works by following these guidelines.

Reputable contractors in the home building industry should be registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). The NHBRC’s vision is “to be a champion of the housing consumer” and their mission is “to protect the housing consumers and to regulate the homebuilding environment.”

  • Insurance Cover

Should you ever encounter a problem with the structures in the future, your insurer will want to make sure that all legal regulations were adhered to during construction. If not, your claim/s could be rejected.

  • Warranties

Projects are undertaken by a contractor that is NHBRC certified and carry a 12-month warranty against roof leaks and a 5-year warranty against major structural defects.

The ultimate goal here would be to transform your living space into a place that works for you and your family, that is safe and that will last for many years to come. The above-mentioned points will hopefully assist you with the decision of whether or not to appoint a contractor for your next exciting project.

Happy planning!

 

 

Sources:
SANS 10400 Building Regulations
NHBRC
NHBRC warns consumers against fraudulent use of its logo
Property24
Dial A Contractor
Durbanville online directory


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About Bianca Warwick

I had the privilege of joining the Leads 2 Business content team in January 2012. I work in the exciting Projects department, following the progress of construction developments in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

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