Newsletter, 11/10/2014

 

Time Freedom, Money to Live and Health to Play!

This really brings to light my own personal story and my passion.

My Dad retired at 55 years old with an amazing pension from a corporation he worked for – for 35 years. Oh for the good ole days . . .

He plays golf, cards, he fishes, socializes and travels.

It’s great that he’s been given time, freedom and money, however, he needed health and now he has that too.

My parents have it all and now they even have another income stream that they do not go to work for, they just share with others looking for the same level of health and energy that they enjoy.

Imagine – Health and Money to live on – they all have time at that age!

Young people have lots of health, but no time and no money…

 Baby Boomers have some time some money and some health…

What I propose is to have it all – Be Fit, Be Fabulous and Be Financially Free.

If one or two (or three) areas of this note encourages you to look more in to what I have to offer – please feel free to contact me at askmicheletoday@gmail.com

Think about this:

Do today what others won’t, so you will have a tomorrow that other’s don’t.

Be Healthy & Happy,

Michele Foster

Network-Marketing-167-Billion-Industry

The 50-Plus Job Market: 5 Trends to Watch

Source: retirementrevised.com ~ Author: Mark Miller

Working longer is a mantra these days for many Americans hoping to build greater retirement security. Staying on the job even a few years beyond traditional retirement age makes it easier to delay filing for Social Security; it also can mean more years contributing to retirement accounts and fewer years of depending on nest eggs for living expenses.

But since the Great Recession, staying employed has been easier said than done for all workers. The economy has continued to mend gradually, and the job market has improved. How are older workers faring? The picture is mixed.

More older workers are participating in the labor force, and they experience lower unemployment rates than younger workers. Still, problems remain. Most workers think age discrimination by employers is commonplace. And older workers who do lose their jobs tend to be out of work longer and earn less when they do secure new employment.

If you’re in the ramp-up years to retirement and aspire to stay employed past traditional retirement age, here are five key trends to watch.

Read More…

retirement-quotes-and-sayings-1

The biggest surprises in retirement? The experts weigh in

Source: Rueters.com ~ Author: Mark Miller

The Great Recession served up some nasty financial surprises to people approaching retirement – the housing crash, job loss and shrunken 401(k)s, for starters.

But retirement can bring lifestyle surprises, too. It’s one of life’s biggest transitions, and a major leap into the unknown. Hoping to lessen the guesswork for people who aren’t there yet, I asked experts who work with people transitioning to retirement about the surprises they hear about most often.

“Time freedom” is a shock for many, says Richard Leider, an executive career coach and co-author of “Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013).

“Without the time structure of working, folks often go on autopilot, the default position of repeating old patterns,” he says. “However, there is no status in the status quo. So, at about the one-year mark, they realize that time is their most precious currency. Often a wake-up call – health, relationships, money or caregiving – forces reflection and helps them to say ‘no’ to the less important things that simply clutter up a life and ‘yes’ to the more important things that define a purposeful life. They choose fulfilling time.”

Read more…

retirement cartoon

 

Flexibility Exercises

Source: nihseniorhealth.gov

To get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. This section discusses flexibility exercises.“““

More Freedom of Movement

Stretching, or flexibility, exercises are an important part of your physical activity program. They give you more freedom of movement for your physical activities and for everyday activities such as getting dressed and reaching objects on a shelf. Stretching exercises can improve your flexibility but will not improve your endurance or strength.

Flexibility Exercises to Try

The 12 flexibility exercises which follow are:

  1. neck stretch
  2. shoulder stretch
  3. shoulder and upper arm raise
  4. upper body stretch
  5. chest stretch
  6. back stretch
  7. ankle stretch
  8. back of leg stretch
  9. thigh stretch
  10. hip stretch
  11. lower back stretch
  12. calf stretch

How Much Stretching Should I Do?

Do each stretching exercise 3 to 5 times at each session. Slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain, and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, trying to stretch farther.

You can progress in your stretching exercises. For example, as you become more flexible, try reaching farther, but not so far that it hurts.

Safety Tips

  • Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about a particular exercise. For example, if you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower body exercises.
  • Always warm up before stretching exercises and stretch after endurance or strength exercises. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up may result in injury.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • Stretching may feel slightly uncomfortable; for example, a mild pulling feeling is normal.
  • You are stretching too far if you feel sharp or stabbing pain, or joint pain — while doing the stretch or even the next day. Reduce the stretch so that it doesn’t hurt.
  • Never “bounce” into a stretch. Make slow, steady movements instead. Jerking into position can cause muscles to tighten, possibly causing injury.
  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Your joints should always be slightly bent while stretching.

Neck Stretch

  1. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting in a sturdy chair.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a slight stretch. Be careful not to tip or tilt your head forward or backward, but hold it in a comfortable position.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Turn your head to the left and hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Shoulder Stretch

  1. Stand back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and arms at shoulder height.
  2. Bend your elbows so your fingertips point toward the ceiling and touch the wall behind you. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort, and stop immediately if you feel sharp pain.
  3. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Let your arms slowly roll forward, remaining bent at the elbows, to point toward the floor and touch the wall again, if possible. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  5. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Alternate pointing above head, then toward hips.
  7. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Raise

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold one end of a towel in your right hand.
  3. Raise and bend your right arm to drape the towel down your back. Keep your right arm in this position and continue holding on to the towel.
  4. Reach behind your lower back and grasp the towel with your left hand.
  5. To stretch your right shoulder, pull the towel down with your left hand. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort in your right shoulder.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  7. Reverse positions, and repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Upper Body Stretch

  1. Stand facing a wall slightly farther than arm’s length from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lean your body forward and put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keeping your back straight, slowly walk your hands up the wall until your arms are above your head.
  4. Hold your arms overhead for about 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly walk your hands back down.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Chest Stretch

  1. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting in a sturdy, armless chair.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold arms to your sides at shoulder height, with palms facing forward.
  4. Slowly move your arms back, while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  5. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Back Stretch

  1. Sit up toward the front of a sturdy chair with armrests. Stay as straight as possible. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly twist to the left from your waist without moving your hips. Turn your head to the left. Lift your left hand and hold on to the left arm of the chair. Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh. Twist farther, if possible.
  3. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly return to face forward.
  5. Repeat on the right side.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 more times.

Ankle Stretch

  1. Sit securely toward the edge of a sturdy, armless chair.
  2. Stretch your legs out in front of you.
  3. With your heels on the floor, bend your ankles to point toes toward you.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Bend ankles to point toes away from you and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

How to Get Down on the Floor

The following stretching exercises are done on the floor. To get down on the floor:

  1. Stand facing the seat of a sturdy chair.
  2. Put your hands on the seat, and lower yourself down on one knee.
  3. Bring the other knee down.
  4. Put your left hand on the floor. Leaning on your hand, slowly bring your left hip to the floor. Put your right hand on the floor next to your left hand to steady yourself, if needed.
  5. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  6. Straighten your legs.
  7. Bend your left elbow until your weight is resting on it. Using your right hand as needed for support, straighten your left arm. You should now be lying on your left side.
  8. Roll onto your back.

If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before using this method.

How to Get Up From the Floor

To get up from the floor:

  1. Roll onto your left side.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor at about the level of your ribs and use it to push your shoulders off the floor. Use your left hand to help lift you up, as needed.
  3. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  4. Roll forward, onto your knees, leaning on your hands for support.
  5. Reach up and lean your hands on the seat of a sturdy chair.
  6. Lift one of your knees so that one leg is bent, foot flat on the floor.
  7. Leaning your hands on the seat of the chair for support, rise from this position.

If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before using this method.

Back of Leg Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with left knee bent and left foot flat on the floor.
  2. Raise right leg, keeping knee slightly bent.
  3. Reach up and grasp right leg with both hands. Keep head and shoulders flat on the floor.
  4. Gently pull right leg toward your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.
  5. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  7. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times with left leg.

Thigh Stretch

  1. Lie on your side with legs straight and knees together.
  2. Rest your head on your arm.
  3. Bend top knee and reach back and grab the top of your foot. If you can’t reach your foot, loop a resistance band, belt, or towel over your foot and hold both ends.
  4. Gently pull your leg until you feel a stretch in your thigh.
  5. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  7. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times with your other leg.

Hip Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both shoulders on the floor throughout the stretch.
  2. Slowly lower one knee as far as you comfortably can. Keep your feet close together and try not to move the other leg.
  3. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Bring knee back up slowly.
  5. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times with your other leg.

Lower Back Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both arms and shoulders flat on the floor throughout the stretch.
  2. Keeping knees bent and together, slowly lower both legs to one side as far as you comfortably can.
  3. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Bring legs back up slowly and repeat toward other side.
  5. Continue alternating sides for at least 3 to 5 times on each side.

Calf Stretch

  1. Stand facing a wall slightly farther than arm’s length from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Step forward with right leg and bend right knee. Keeping both feet flat on the floor, bend left knee slightly until you feel a stretch in your left calf muscle. It shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. If you don’t feel a stretch, bend your right knee until you do.
  4. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds, and then return to starting position.
  5. Repeat with left leg.
  6. Continue alternating legs for at least 3 to 5 times on each leg.

 

Newsletter 10/30/2014

 

Hello,

I just spent the last week with my 84 year old mother and 88 year old Dad. Wow! I am fortunate to still have them both alive and living a great quality of life. Even with our good fortune there are things that really struck home with me that I really need to share.

Car givers – they are necessary and invaluable and you cannot afford NOT to have them.

Point number 1, when facing retirement you need good insurance and Money-lots of it!

Advocacy – there are so many Seniors that health care is not hurting. At any appointment I went on with my parents, they were just another elderly couple waiting in a very big line or lobby because so many seniors live at the Doctors office.

Point  number 2, You need preventive care and it starts with Nutrition, and everyone needs an advocate, not someone that works at the office or hospital, someone that represents you the patient –  a loved one , friend, or salaried caregiver.

When I started thinking and planning for my own retirement, now at age 58, I realized that I must include in my plans, care of my parents too. And, my parents have a pension as well as long term care insurance  – unlike the majority of Americans who do not.

It is important to stay well and the best way to do that is; proper nutrition and less stress . . . which means less financial issues. You cannot be truly well if you are consistently worried about money – at any age!

Make a plan and work the plan – small daily consistencies can deliver long term lasting results. And you if don’t have a plan for you and your family, I have a plan that I want to share with you.

Until recently I did not know there was a solution available to create residual income for retirement and beyond. Now that I know, I want to share this with the world… or at least with people that are looking for real financial freedom.

My sincere hope is that, while you are reading through the facts and figures in this newsletter, you will consider reaching out to me and let me share with you a plan that will facilitate healthy aging and financial freedom . . .

Enjoy Life!

Michele Foster

Retired

Will you outlive your retirement savings?

An article appeared on Bloomberg last week that sounded the alarm on the very real prospect that millions of people will outlive their retirement savings. Lawmakers Seek to Prevent Americans Outliving Savings (Bloomberg, June 11, 2010) had this to say:

“In 1983, 62 percent of workers had only company-funded pensions, while 12 percent had 401(k)s, the center said. In 2007, those numbers were 17 percent and 63 percent, respectively”¦ Most American households at or near retirement “are consumed by fear,” said Anthony Webb, associate director of research at the research nonprofit. “Instead of walking on the beach hand-in-hand in retirement, the reality is that they’re sitting around the kitchen table cutting coupons”¦Nearly half, or 47 percent, of those on the verge of retirement are predicted to run out of money”¦”

The article went on to say that the average 401(k) account has $66,900, and the average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,067—both numbers as of the spring of this year, and neither consistent with the TV version of retirement.

Those numbers are averages and we can and should plan to be above average. But even if we are, even if we’re successful in achieving the hallowed million dollar 401k, will it be enough to cover us for decades of retirement living and the inflation, recessions and stock market reversals that will be inevitable over such a time span?

READ ON… What should we be doing now

Calculator: Will you have enough to retire?

Visit http://money.cnn.com/calculator/retirement/retirement-need/ for the calclator.

Sources: Social Security Administration; Federal Reserve of Philadelphia; Department of Labor.

Methodology

This calculator estimates how much you’ll need to save for retirement. To make sure you’re thinking about the long haul, we assume you’ll live to age 92. But you could live to be 100 or incur large medical bills early on in retirement that may raise your costs even further. Social Security is factored into these calculations, but other sources of income, such as pensions and annuities, are not. All calculations are pre-tax.

The results offer a general idea of how much you’ll need and are not intended to be investment advice. The results are presented in both future dollars (at retirement) and today’s dollars, which is calculated using an inflation rate of 2.3%.

Read more…

The 10 Best Places to Retire on Social Security Alone

In these places, Social Security is likely to cover your basic monthly costs.

 

The Best Places to Retire on $75 a Day

You can live well on a small amount of savings in these affordable cities.

 

Best Places to Retire for Under $40,000

In these cities, you can live well for less than $40,000 per year.

 

10 Low-impact Exercises for Seniors


indoor swimming pools
Exercise is important for good health at any age, and seniors are no exception. You’ll want to talk to a doctor before you start any new exercise regimen, but once you get the all-clear, a low-impact exercise routine can benefit your health by stretching and strengthening your muscles, reducing stress, preventing injury and even helping to lower your blood pressure.

Many gyms offer excellent low-impact exercise classes for seniors, but staying fit doesn’t require a gym. Whether you prefer to get your workout from an instructor in a class, on a gym machine or outdoors, you can reap exercise’s health benefits and have a little bit of fun at the same time.

Low-impact exercises fall into four categories: endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. Incorporating all four types of exercise into your routine helps reduce the risk of injury and keeps you from getting bored. Instead of doing just one exercise all the time, mix it up! For a well-rounded exercise routine, try combining endurance exercises, like walking or swimming, with exercises that focus on the other categories. You can build strength through light weight training or yoga, for example. Yoga is also a great way to improve flexibility and balance.

Looking for more low-impact exercises to round out your workout? We’ve got a list to get you started!

 

Newsletter 10/18/2014

Hello,

This newsletter is all about FACTS:

Rather than bullet pointing all this knowledge, I will recommend to you  small investment to looking at your financial future.

The Next Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilzner costs just $.70 cents on Amazon.

If you want to align your efforts with increasing trends. If you want Experts to point you in the right direction. If you want not only Financial Freedom And the Energy to enjoy it. Take a listen to Paul ‘s CD.

To Your Wellness – Financially & Physically,

Michele

 

work from home cartoon2The Next Millionaires—Wellness Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur, or considering becoming one in wellness, there has never been a better time in history to own your own business.

When I was growing up in the 1950s, millionaires were fictional characters on television shows like The Millionaire or in comic strips like Little Orphan Annie. Nobody actually knew or saw a millionaire. Even on the The Millionairethe “millionaire” John Beresford Tipton never appeared on camera. I remember asking my dad to go out to dinner and hearing his reply: “What do you think we are, millionaires?”

Read More…

“If you don’t take care of yourself, the undertaker will overtake that responsibility for you.” – Carrie Latet

7 Ways to Sneak Exercise Into the Self-Employed Lifestyle

When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to think that your schedule is 100% your own, and that you can pick and choose exactly how you want to spend your time. However, entrepreneurs work hard to please clients and build the perfect business — which means that personal time is often sacrificed for last minute projects, client meetings and tight deadlines.

The stress and long hours of the entrepreneurial lifestyle often come at the expense of physical and mental well-being. Trips to the gym take a back seat to the business.

If you’ve been struggling to find a way to fit regular exercise into your unpredictable, self-employed schedule, here are a few tips for the new year.

Read more…

paul zane pilzer“The early pioneers of both wellness and network marketing were motivated by the sense that it was possible to create a better life than the conventional routes offered – better personal health and better economic health, respectively. Now the ‘alternatives’ of yesterday have become the economic powerhouses of today and tomorrow.” ~Paul Zane Pilzer

9 Tips to Eat Healthy When You Work From Home

Helpful strategies to keep nibbling to a minimum when you work only steps from a well-stocked home kitchen.

We’ve all had those days. The refrigerator seems like it’s calling out your name. No one will know if you have just one piece of pepperoni pizza or a few bites of a sprinkle-topped lemon cupcake. But you will probably regret it when you can’t zip your “comfy” jeans or a button on a favorite blouse pops at an inopportune time.

As the summer holiday season approaches, the temptation to indulge can get stronger as our houses are filled with home-baked goodies. Here are a few tips that should help you keep things under control, stay healthy and look your summer best.

Read more…

30-Minute Workout, No Gym Required

From Health magazine

Who has time to burn megacalories? You do! Perform these exercises just three times a week to drop winter weight.

Feel the burn

Who has time to burn megacalories? You do! This speedy workout from Equinox instructor Lashaun Dale, based on her popular Cardio Bootcamp & Sculpt class, will blast up to 350 calories in just under 30 minutes, and you’ll build strength while you’re at it. Do this routine just three times a week to drop winter weight. (Planning a beach vacation? Add a brisk 45-minute walk on alternate days to burn another 250 calories a day. You’ll toast more than 2,000 calories a week!)

jacks-400x400Jumping jacks

Do jumping jacks for 2 minutes.

 

 

side-lunge-400x400

Side lunge

Stand holding 5- to 8-pound dumbbells. Step right leg out to side and bend knee to 90 degrees, reaching hands down on either side of right foot. Push off right foot to return to standing with right foot directly in front of left foot, arms sweeping up with palms facing in. Repeat on left side with left foot stepping behind right as you return to center; that’s 1 rep. Do 24 reps,then switch lead legs and repeat.

 

dancing-squat-400x400

Dancing squat

Stand with right foot forward, a 5- to 8-pound weight in left hand. Squat; touch weight to floor as right hand lifts. Stand, lift left knee, touch right hand to right left in front of you. Squat then stand; touch right hand to left foot behind you; that’s 1 rep. Do 24 reps; switch sides and repeat.

 

 

line-hops-400x400

Line hops

Step or hop sideways over a stretched-out jump rope for 2 minutes.

 

 

tipsy-bridge-400x400

Tipsy bridge and lift

Lie on your back, feet hip-width apart, flexed left foot on a yoga block or telephone book, right foot on the floor. Keeping shoulders and head neutral and abs tight, lift hips so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower down, then lift right foot, bringing knee in toward chest. Return foot to floor; that’s 1 rep. Do 24 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

 

biceps-400x400Biceps and arm circles

Stand with legs slightly wider than hip-width, a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent and palms up. Keeping spine straight, squat and circle left hand up and in toward your shoulder in a circular motion (as if beckoning someone toward you); reverse to lower hand. Do 16 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

 

 

fast-feet-400x400

Fast feet

Step quickly forward and backward over a stretched-out jump rope for 2 minutes.

 

 

tricep-twist-400x400

Triceps with a twist

Lie on back with knees bent, a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in right hand lifted so weight is over shoulder. Let knees fall left while bending right elbow until end of weight touches floor near ear. Straighten right arm while lifting hips, legs, head, and shoulders. Lower gently down. Do 24 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

roll-over-400x400

Roll over and sit up

Start lying on stomach, chest lifted, arms stretched overhead, legs straight. Roll to right onto your back, bending knees slightly and bringing arms halfway down; curl up to sitting position as arms move back overhead. Curl back down, and roll back over onto stomach. Do 16 reps, then switch directions and repeat.

 

 

cross-crawl-400x400Cross crawl

Raise your arms, then lift left knee and bring right elbow down to meet it. Repeat on opposite side; alternate for 2 minutes, moving as quickly as possible.

 

 

You’re done!

 

 

The Advantage Of Being A Female Entrepreneur

Source: huffingtonpost.com ~ Author: Carolyn Gregoire

The Advantage Of Being A Female EntrepreneurThe tech and business worlds aren’t always seen as female-friendly places — just 37 percent of entrepreneurs are women — but female business leaders may actually have a surprising advantage over their male colleagues.

According to recent data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, entrepreneurs in the U.S. feel a greater sense of purpose than the average worker (51 percent vs. 44 percent), which contributes to greater fulfillment from their work and lives.

Among female entrepreneurs, “purpose thriving” is especially strong. Fifty-six percent of female entrepreneurs say they have a strong sense of purpose, compared to 47 percent of male entrepreneurs, 48 percent of non-entrepreneurial female workers, and 41 percent of non-entrepreneurial male workers.

Separately, the study found that female entrepreneurs are also more likely to report greater physical well-being than male entrepreneurs and male and female non-entrepreneurial workers, the study found.

The findings ring true across age, race, and socioeconomic demographics, and also account for factors like martial status, income and weekly hours worked, the researchers found.

“Demographic factors alone don’t account for entrepreneurs’ higher purpose well-being,” a Gallup press release notes. “Rather, there is something else about being an entrepreneur that relates to liking what they do each day and being motivated to achieve their goals.”

According to a recent global ranking from Gender-GEDI, the United States is the best country in the world for female entrepreneurs to prosper, followed by Australia, Sweden and Germany.

To be sure, women face a number of challenges in starting businesses — including work-life balance concerns, fear of failure, and lack of female role models in business — but they still seem to be happier than their male and non-entrepreneurial counterparts. According to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) U.S. Report, female entrepreneurs who become established business owners ranked their well-being more than twice as high as non-entrepreneurs and non-business owners.

4 Ways to Max Out the 40-Hour Workweek

Source: entreprenuer.com ~ Author: Craig Cincotta

4 Ways to Max Out the 40-Hour WorkweekIn today’s 24/7 world, is the 40-hour workweek still possible or is it a pipe dream?

It is absolutely possible; you just need to work smarter, not harder.

In my role as VP of Communications at Porch.com, a home-improvement network, I communicate this philosophy to my team along with the importance of adopting work-life balance principles.

So how can other businesses implement these ideologies? They need to have a plan of action.

To help people crack the code for how to create an efficient and impactful 40-hour workweek, here are four methods to set a course for successfully working smarter, not harder.

1. Ignore the visibility trap.

Over the years I have observed one consistent action that extends their workweek well beyond 40-hours: The never ending quest for visibility. The No. 1 sign you are stuck in the visibility trap is you are going to too many meetings and particularly meetings you don’t really need to go to. Why is this trap so common? I have found that many people may feel left out or left behind if they are not at every meeting with their colleagues. Ignore this trap. I know it can be hard, but if you are in meetings, chances are you are not working.

How do you ignore this? Meetings are expensive so don’t spend valuable minutes in meetings you don’t really need to be in. Do a hardcore audit of your meetings. What is being discussed in the meeting that you can’t get after the fact? Does the meeting really need to be 60 minutes or can it be 30 minutes? What are the goals of the meeting? If a meeting does not have a structured agenda, clear roles for participants and a set of desired outcomes, it is probably not going to be a great use of your time.

2. Outcomes over activities.

Throughout the day you need to ask yourself, are you producing tangible outcomes or are you just participating in activities that you think are important? If you don’t have any goals in mind for the week, you won’t know if you are on track and driving actual value to the business. When this happens you also won’t have clarity, predictability or know if the week was truly a success (and if you spent your time on the right things).

How do you do this? Set up weekly priorities and stick to them. Communicate daily with your manager to ensure you are always on the right track and your week is setup for success. Are you getting the right support and resources? Do things need to change on the priority list? Have a conversation on Monday to set the table for the week. When you get to Friday, how will you know that the week was a success? If you focus on the outcomes over activities you are halfway there.

Related: 5 Simple Tactics to Keep You Organized and on Task Every Day

3. Your ARE the Boss of You.

Only you can truly control the fate of your week. Yes, things come up that you can’t plan for, but if you are focused on working with your manager on the right outcomes, you will have the air cover you need to stay focused on the task at hand. If you allow people to pull you off on the wrong path you will lose focus. Pick your spots, leverage the help of others, and control your day in a way that keeps you in the driver’s seat.

How do you do this? At the beginning of the day take a serious look at the day ahead. What MUST get done? What needs to happen to hit your daily goals? If you feel randomized call a time-out and reassess how you will carve up your time for the rest of the day.

4. Fly above the noise.

When you need to truly get work done nothing matters more than finding a way to fly about the noise. You can easily fall behind if you are spending too much time chatting in the hallways with colleagues, taking extended lunches, getting wrapped up in conversations and other activities that pull you away from the task at hand.

How do you do this? Stay heads down. Stay off Facebook and Twitter. Don’t get wrapped up in the gossip chains. Ignore the shiny objects. If you can do that you are well on your way to maximizing out your workweek to produce great results.