How to keep track of how you’re growing

In our fast-paced world, people are engaging in training in new and different ways. UF HR Training & Organizational Development designed the Keep Growing series to meet today’s training needs in new ways. These online resources were crafted based on identified key skills that faculty and staff can develop as individuals and as leaders. These skills are critical for navigating the present and for flourishing over the long-term. The training materials we developed are designed to be taken at your own pace. Below, you will find the Keep Growing content broken down into three categories:

Upcoming Webinars

Our upcoming webinars for 2021 are part of the Stronger Together series. Please navigate to the Stronger Together page to stay up to date with our latest offerings throughout the year.

Keep Growing at UF Podcast

The Keep Growing at UF Podcast features trainings produced by UF T&OD, presented in an audio format so that you can listen and learn at your convenience. New episodes release every other Thursday.

How to keep track of how you're growing

Keep Growing Training Content

Training & Organizational Development has developed many new training materials to help you learn in new ways, at your convenience. Here is a list of materials created as part of the Keep Growing initiative. Please note: Many of our recorded webinars can also be found on our YouTube channel.

Navigating Change and Uncertainty

Talking About Grief in the Workplace

Instructor: Taylor Williams

Grief is a very normal and common emotion, but it is largely misunderstood. If we normalize grief and grieving, it is possible to have more empathic and meaningful conversations about various forms of loss in the workplace. After the global experience of Covid-19, it’s a safe assumption that everyone has experienced some form of grief: the loss of a loved one or their own health, a loss of identity, time, certainty, safety, etc. Grief is exceptionally common right now, but most people are unaware, or unable to identify the emotion.

Applying Performance Measures to Your Work

Instructor: Brandon Telg & Courtney Moon

An important element of Productivity & Performance is one’s ability to apply performance measures to their everyday work, not just for an annual review. This webinar will help you apply an organizational structure to your work, identify and write your goals using backwards design, and ultimately track and maintain your performance records over time.

Building Your Own Long-Term Success Story

Instructor: Kara Wight and Brandon Telg

We live in a time where people are achieving early success at a rapid pace and their stories are amplified. In a short amount of time these stories have gone from the remarkable exception, to the new expectation of success. While reaching a certain level of success at a young age can set you up for long-term success, there are some inherent dangers that come with taking on too much too soon. In this webinar, we will debunk this myth that you must have your dream job and be building your empire by the time you’re in your 30’s. Then we’ll take a look at some examples of success that were a slower burn, built up over time. Finally, we will dig into some tools to help you design your own long-term success story.

Building Your Resilience Muscles

Instructor: Ronda Mitchell and Irma Alvarez

Do you feel like you are just managing to get through these challenging times? It may be your resilience muscles are weak. In this webinar we’ll share with you a roadmap with concepts to build your resilience, regain your balance and move forward with optimism and energy for sustaining and, even, increasing work performance.

Cultivating An Abundance Mindset

Instructor: Brandon Telg

How can one cultivate a mindset of positivity and compassion when the world is changing so rapidly? Attend this webinar to learn about the difference between a Scarcity Mindset and an Abundance Mindset, as well as what it takes to move from the former into the latter.

Embracing the Growth Mindset in Times of Turbulence

Instructor: Kara Wight

What does the growth mindset look like when our world is flipped upside down? Embracing the growth mindset will allow us to learn and grow during challenging times. Join us for this webinar to look at how we can do this while we’re adjusting to our new work circumstances.

Identity Capital

Is Stress Your Friend?

Instructor: Courtney Moon and Yusof Al-Wadei

Is Stress Your Friend? Strange right? Stress is an unfortunate part of life that we all experience to varying degrees. While it may seem strange at first, having a strategic approach to managing stress can result in a more productive and healthier you.

Leadership and Judgment in Uncertain Times

Instructor: Irma Alvarez

Leaders who practice good judgment during times of uncertainty provide anchoring when it is most needed and appreciated by those who look up to them for direction. Modeling good judgment reassures and engages the team to remain aligned and focused on results despite an environment of doubt and ambiguity.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence During Times of Uncertainty and Change Webinar

Instructor: Rebecca Younglove

One thing is certain- there is little constant in our lives right now. These challenging times can also be a great opportunity to build stronger relationships and teams. In this webinar, managers/leaders will learn ways to leverage the components of emotional intelligence to lead effectively during these ever-changing times.

Manage Change Before it Manages You

Instructor: Courtney Moon & Becky Younglove

Change happens. It’s a real, concrete part of life that we sometimes wish would just go away, or at least slow down. Now more than ever, we are dealing with rapid fire change and it is having an impact on our lives both professionally and personally. In this webinar, we’ll review the Change Cycle, a helpful model that explains the sequential steps to change and discuss ways to manage change in helpful and productive ways.

Stop Stressing Me Out!

Instructor: Ronda Mitchell

Things are stressful right now for all of us. In this session we will learn what each behavioral style considers stressful, the signals we each give when under stress, and flexibility tips to help each other lower their stress levels for improved collaboration and productivity during these trying times and beyond.

How to keep track of how you're growing

You’ve put a lot of time into building up a huge network of people by going to conferences, attending industry events, and reaching out to people you admire. Great!

But if you simply store these contacts in your address book, only reaching out when you’re job hunting or looking for a specific introduction, you might as well not have a network at all. After all, if your connections don’t feel they have much of a relationship with you, they probably won’t be very inclined to help you. They might not even remember who you are.

Maintaining a thriving, active network takes time, planning, and even a bit of creativity. But if you put in the effort, the impact it will have on your career will be well worth it. Here’s your action plan to make sure your connections don’t go to waste.

Setting Yourself Up for Success: Track & Schedule

The first step in staying on top of your network of relationships is staying organized. I adopted this technique after reading Keith Ferazzi’s book Never Eat Alone, and while it may sound a bit tedious, the payoff is worth it!

Start by setting up a spreadsheet to track your contacts with the following columns: Name, Job Title, Company, Industry, Contact Information, Score (I’ll explain this in a moment), City, First Date of Contact, Last Date of Contact, and Notes.

Put all of your professional contacts into the spreadsheet. For the “Score” column, develop a system for ranking your contacts based on how often you want to stay in touch: For me “1” means monthly contact, “2” means I touch base quarterly, and “3” means I reach out every six months to a year. In the “Notes” column, write down what interests your contact has, including what you bonded over or what you know he or she likes based on your online research.

Next, make tending to your network a priority by actually putting time on the calendar to do it. I schedule separate times each week for reaching out to new people and for touching base with people already in my spreadsheet. It may sound silly to formally schedule it, but if you don’t, it means you’re not really prioritizing it—and it probably won’t get done.

Keeping in Touch: Adding Value to the Relationship

Now that you’re all organized, it’s time to go from being someone your contacts met once at a conference to someone they look forward to hearing from. But how do you develop a relationship with someone without being overly pushy? Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep in touch:

Share Favorite Articles

We’ve all heard this tip before, but how often do you actually do it? Emailing links to relevant articles with a brief, thoughtful analysis is probably the easiest way to keep up a relationship. Use Delicious or another bookmarking service to keep track of articles you’ve really enjoyed. Then, when you sit down to reach out to your contacts, go through the bookmarks to see if there’s anything relevant that you can send them (your “Notes” column will be incredibly helpful for this).

One of the best examples of this technique appears in a blog post by Jon Miller, VP of Marketing and Co-Founder at Marketo. While he talks about it in the context of nurturing sales leads, I actually think it works to add value to your network as well. Write emails like these, and I promise that you will not be forgotten!

Give the Run-Down of a Good Book

Get in the habit of typing up notes on the best books you’ve read that are related to your industry or that are about interests you share with your contacts. Then, convert the notes into a PDF and send them to anyone who might find them interesting. (I learned this technique from a video podcast entrepreneur Maneesh Sethi did with ESPN anchor James Swanwick.)

Bonus tip: If you use a Kindle, you can copy and paste your Kindle highlights from your Kindle account page and then format them to look like book notes (it’s a huge time saver!).

Give Them a Pat on the Back

Show contacts that you’re paying attention by congratulating them on career milestones. Use Newsle to keep tabs on what’s going on in your contacts’ lives (or set up Google Alerts for your closest contacts). When they get a new job, give a great presentation, or publish an article on a major website, send them a quick note to congratulate them on their milestones and tell them that you admire the work they are doing.

But remember to be specific! Telling your contact exactly why you liked his or her article or what part of the conference speech you saw online really stuck out to you will make your message much more memorable than a simple “congrats.”

Thank Them for Their Influence

Did you finally decide to pitch that article you’ve had in your head because of something a contact said on Twitter? Did a recent article by one of your contacts make you re-think your career strategy? When people inspire you in any way, tell them! No matter how busy they are, most people love hearing that they have made a difference in someone else’s life.

Want to know exactly how to word your emails? I Will Teach You to Be Rich’s Ramit Sethi wrote a great article with actual email scripts for adding value to your network.

Set Up a Date

Email is a great way to stay in touch, but connecting with people in-person is invaluable if you want to build a long-lasting relationship. So, if geography permits, invite people out to coffee or lunch now and then every few months (so you don’t seem over-excited). Depending on the nature of your relationship, you can position the meeting as a chance to simply touch base or as an opportunity to talk about something specific, like a project you think you can help with.

If you’re traveling, make sure to carve out some time to visit contacts you don’t get to see as often. When planning a trip, use your spreadsheet to sort your contacts by city so you can easily see who you should invite to grab lunch.

Keep in mind that not everyone will respond to your emails or accept your coffee date invites, but don’t let a non-responder bring you down. If you establish a regular, friendly rapport with even just 20% of the people you have on your list, you’ll see a massive shift in the power of your network to bring you new opportunities. People will start to reach out to you when they hear of job openings and send you relevant information. And if you do need to tap your network for a recommendation or advice, people will be much more willing to help you out.

How to keep track of how you're growing

How to keep track of how you're growingYou’ve put a lot of time into building up a huge network of people by going to conferences, attending industry events, and reaching out to people you admire. Great!

But if you simply store these contacts in your address book, only reaching out when you’re job hunting or looking for a specific introduction, you might as well not have a network at all. After all, if your connections don’t feel they have much of a relationship with you, they probably won’t be very inclined to help you. They might not even remember who you are.

Maintaining a thriving, active network takes time, planning, and even a bit of creativity. But if you put in the effort, the impact it will have on your career will be well worth it. Here’s your action plan to make sure your connections don’t go to waste.

Setting Yourself Up for Success: Track & Schedule

The first step in staying on top of your network of relationships is staying organized. I adopted this technique after reading Keith Ferazzi’s book Never Eat Alone, and while it may sound a bit tedious, the payoff is worth it!

Start by setting up a spreadsheet to track your contacts with the following columns: Name, Job Title, Company, Industry, Contact Information, Score (I’ll explain this in a moment), City, First Date of Contact, Last Date of Contact, and Notes.

Put all of your professional contacts into the spreadsheet. For the “Score” column, develop a system for ranking your contacts based on how often you want to stay in touch: For me “1” means monthly contact, “2” means I touch base quarterly, and “3” means I reach out every six months to a year. In the “Notes” column, write down what interests your contact has, including what you bonded over or what you know he or she likes based on your online research.

Next , make tending to your network a priority by actually putting time on the calendar to do it. I schedule separate times each week for reaching out to new people and for touching base with people already in my spreadsheet. It may sound silly to formally schedule it, but if you don’t, it means you’re not really prioritizing it—and it probably won’t get done.

Keeping in Touch: Adding Value to the Relationship

Now that you’re all organized, it’s time to go from being someone your contacts met once at a conference to someone they look forward to hearing from. But how do you develop a relationship with someone without being overly pushy? Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep in touch:

Share Favorite Articles

We’ve all heard this tip before, but how often do you actually do it? Emailing links to relevant articles with a brief, thoughtful analysis is probably the easiest way to keep up a relationship. Use Delicious or another bookmarking service to keep track of articles you’ve really enjoyed. Then, when you sit down to reach out to your contacts, go through the bookmarks to see if there’s anything relevant that you can send them (your “Notes” column will be incredibly helpful for this).

One of the best examples of this technique appears in a blog post by Jon Miller, VP of Marketing and Co-Founder at Marketo. While he talks about it in the context of nurturing sales leads, I actually think it works to add value to your network as well. Write emails like these, and I promise that you will not be forgotten!

Give the Run-Down of a Good Book

Get in the habit of typing up notes on the best books you’ve read that are related to your industry or that are about interests you share with your contacts. Then, convert the notes into a PDF and send them to anyone who might find them interesting. (I learned this technique from a video podcast entrepreneur Maneesh Sethi did with ESPN anchor James Swanwick.)

Bonus tip: If you use a Kindle, you can copy and paste your Kindle highlights from your Kindle account page and then format them to look like book notes (it’s a huge time saver!).

Give Them a Pat on the Back

Show contacts that you’re paying attention by congratulating them on career milestones. Use Newsle to keep tabs on what’s going on in your contacts’ lives (or set up Google Alerts for your closest contacts). When they get a new job, give a great presentation, or publish an article on a major website, send them a quick note to congratulate them on their milestones and tell them that you admire the work they are doing.

But remember to be specific! Telling your contact exactly why you liked his or her article or what part of the conference speech you saw online really stuck out to you will make your message much more memorable than a simple “congrats.”

Thank Them for Their Influence

Did you finally decide to pitch that article you’ve had in your head because of something a contact said on Twitter? Did a recent article by one of your contacts make you re-think your career strategy? When people inspire you in any way, tell them! No matter how busy they are, most people love hearing that they have made a difference in someone else’s life.

Want to know exactly how to word your emails? I Will Teach You to Be Rich’s Ramit Sethi wrote a great article with actual email scripts for adding value to your network.

Set Up a Date

Email is a great way to stay in touch, but connecting with people in-person is invaluable if you want to build a long-lasting relationship. So, if geography permits, invite people out to coffee or lunch now and then every few months (so you don’t seem over-excited). Depending on the nature of your relationship, you can position the meeting as a chance to simply touch base or as an opportunity to talk about something specific, like a project you think you can help with.

If you’re traveling, make sure to carve out some time to visit contacts you don’t get to see as often. When planning a trip, use your spreadsheet to sort your contacts by city so you can easily see who you should invite to grab lunch.

Keep in mind that not everyone will respond to your emails or accept your coffee date invites, but don’t let a non-responder bring you down. If you establish a regular, friendly rapport with even just 20% of the people you have on your list, you’ll see a massive shift in the power of your network to bring you new opportunities. People will start to reach out to you when they hear of job openings and send you relevant information. And if you do need to tap your network for a recommendation or advice, people will be much more willing to help you out.

This article was originally published on The Daily Muse.

Chloe Gray is a New Yorker living in Mexico City who heads up marketing at a tech startup. She specializes in digital marketing, marketing for startups and social media. She is the founder of Lean In 2.0 – A Virtual, Global Lean In Circle, an online community of women that meets monthly to talk about careers and being awesome at work. Feel free to connect with her on twitter at @chloemasongray.

These top tips for growing dahlias provide an excellent overview for beginners to understand how to grow these beautiful flowering tubers and provide the care they need.

Love classic garden flowers like this? Also see how to grow hollyhocks, lavender, and peonies.

How to keep track of how you're growing

How to Grow Dahlias

I gathered these tips for growing dahlias from numerous sources including books, research papers, my own experience, and advice from professional growers whose livelihood depends on their success.

While methods and opinions vary, if the basic needs are met, you should do just fine.

Dahlia | Genus: Dahlia | Asteraceae family

How to keep track of how you're growing

Dahlia Growing Tips
Tuberous herbaceous perennial native to Mexico and Central America

• 42 species | 57k cultivars
USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 up
Grow with winter storage: zone 2 up
Sun: 6+ hours full morning sun
Soil: pH 6.5, does not like damp or dry
Start indoors: 4 to 6 weeks before last frost
Plant outdoors: after last frost, soil 60°F (16°C)
Propagation: seed, tubers, cuttings, grafting
Flowers: mid-summer through to fall frosts
Cold climates: store tubers for winter at 40-45°F (4-7°C)
Pollinators: mainly bees and beetles
Larval host plant: various Lepidoptera, specifically moths

Shop Online: Buy Dahlia tubers (Amazon)

Watch Quick Dahlia Growing Tips

More Dahlia Growing Tips

  • How to Plant and Grow Dahlias
  • How to Store Dahlia Tubers For The Winter

1 Start Your Dahlias Indoors For an Earlier Bloom Time

Dahlias take 90 to 120 days to flower after planting, depending on the variety you are growing.

Generally, the larger the plant and flowers, the longer it takes.

If you want flowers before late summer, consider starting your dahlia tubers indoors in pots 4 to 6 weeks before last frost. This head start provides a longer flowering season.

2 Tag Your Dahlias So You Know What to Expect

While dahlias are not frost hardy they are perennial and this means we can grow the same tubers year after year—if they are protected from freezing temperatures with winter storage.

But, with so many different species (42) and cultivars (57k), there are many different flower shapes, colors, and plant sizes—and different needs—and there is no way to identify them by looking at the tubers.

Tags to the rescue! By keeping track of each dahlia both through the growing season and in storage, come planting time, you’ll know what it needs and where to plant it.

3 Stake Your Dahlias at Planting Time (Not After)

The wonderful thing about dahlias is the massive flowers, of course, but they tend to be top-heavy and pretty much always require support to avoid stem damage.

Save yourself future trouble by installing the support post right at planting time. This avoids accidental puncturing of the tuber later.

With a good support post (rebar, pipe, wood) placed next to the eye of the tuber (see the planting tips below), the main stem of the dahlia will grow right where you need it.

Twine is added as the plant grows. Make a loose loop around the stem and a tight loop around the support pole to keep things in place without damaging the plant.

4 Don’t Be Afraid to Pinch Your Main Stem

While you can leave your dahlias to grow without any grooming, you may want to ‘pinch back’ the main stem once there are several sets of leaves.

Pinching back (the same as cutting off) the main stem encourages the plant to become bushier and put more energy into lateral shoots and additional blooms.

Alternately, growers who enter their dahlias into flower-growing competitions may remove all the lateral stems leaving the main stem to produce a single, spectacular flower.

5 Grow in Containers to Discourage Slugs and Snails

If your garden tends to be a magnet for slugs or snails, consider growing your dahlias in containers.

Often miniature dahlias are recommended for pots but you can certainly try growing any size dahlia this way.

In my experience, the larger the container, the better. And, with the pot off the ground, the chance of slug or snail feasts is greatly reduced.

Learn more about possible Pest and Diseases here.

6 Grow Dahlias in Full Morning Sun

Dahlias are one of those plants that like their soil moisture nice and even.

If the soil holds too much moisture, the tubers, especially in the first few weeks, are prone to rot.

And, if the soil dries out, they can wither and die.

If you can, choose a location with full morning sun so they get maximum light without direct exposure to hot, drying afternoon sun.

7 Store Your Tubers in Plastic Food Wrap for the Winter

Every enthusiastic dahlia grower will tell you their storage method works like a charm. And—they are right—for their specific conditions. The point is, it’s the health of the tuber and the overall environment that counts.

The optimum storage temperature is 40-45°F (4-7°C). We run into problems when the heating systems in our homes make the humidity level too low for the tubers.

If this sounds like your situation, consider using the plastic food wrap method (more on this below). Each tuber is wrapped individually to keep moisture in. Growers who use this method report a higher number of viable tubers each spring.

10 Habits to Develop for Financial Stability and Success

By Leo Babauta

Just like any goal, getting your finances stable and becoming financially successful requires the development of good financial habits. I’ve been researching this topic extensively in the last few years in my quest to eliminate debt, increase my savings and increase financial security for my family. I’ll talk more about these habits individually, but wanted to list them in a summary (I know, but I’m a compulsive list-maker).

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Make savings automagical. This should be your top priority, especially if you don’t have a solid emergency fund yet. Make it the first bill you pay each payday, by having a set amount automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings (try an online savings account). Don’t even think about this transaction — just make sure it happens, each and every payday.
  2. Control your impulse spending. The biggest problem for many of us. Impulse spending, on eating out and shopping and online purchases, is a big drain on our finances, the biggest budget breaker for many, and a sure way to be in dire financial straits. See Monitor Your Impulse Spending for more tips.
  3. Evaluate your expenses, and live frugally. If you’ve never tracked your expenses, try the One Month Challenge. Then evaluate how you’re spending your money, and see what you can cut out or reduce. Decide if each expense is absolutely necessary, then eliminate the unnecessary. See How I Save Money for more. Also read 30 ways to save $1 a day.
  4. Invest in your future . If you’re young, you probably don’t think about retirement much. But it’s important. Even if you think you can always plan for retirement later, do it now. The growth of your investments over time will be amazing if you start in your 20s. Start by increasing your 401(k) to the maximum of your company’s match, if that’s available to you. After that, the best bet is probably a Roth IRA. Do a little research, but whatever you do, start now!
  5. Keep your family secure. The first step is to save for an emergency fund, so that if anything happens, you’ve got the money. If you have a spouse and/or dependents, you should definitely get life insurance and make a will — as soon as possible! Also research other insurance, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
  6. Eliminate and avoid debt. If you’ve got credit cards, personal loans, or other such debt, you need to start a debt elimination plan. List out your debts and arrange them in order from smallest balance at the top to largest at the bottom. Then focus on the debt at the top, putting as much as you can into it, even if it’s just $40-50 extra (more would be better). When that amount is paid off, celebrate! Then take the total amount you were paying (say $70 minimum payment plus the $50 extra for a total of $120) and add that to the minimum payment of the next largest debt. Continue this process, with your extra amount snowballing as you go along, until you pay off all your debts. This could take several years, but it’s a very rewarding process, and very necessary.
  7. Use the envelope system . This is a simple system to keep track of how much money you have for spending. Let’s say you set aside three amounts in your budget each payday — one for gas, one for groceries, one for eating out. Withdraw those amounts on payday, and put them in three separate envelopes. That way, you can easily track how much you have left for each of these expenses, and when you run out of money, you know it immediately. You don’t overspend in these categories. If you regularly run out too fast, you may need to rethink your budget.
  8. Pay bills immediately, or automagically. One good habit is to pay bills as soon as they come in. Also, as much as possible, try to get your bills to be paid through automatic deduction. For those that can’t, use your bank’s online check system to make regular automatic payments. This way, all of your regular expenses in your budget are taken care of.
  9. Read about personal finances. The more you educate yourself, the better your finances will be.
  10. Look to grow your net worth . Do whatever you can to improve your net worth, either by reducing your debt, increasing your savings, or increasing your income, or all of the above. Look for new ways to make money, or to get paid more for what you do. Over the course of months, if you calculate your net worth each month, you’ll see it grow. And that feels great.

Experts urge taking the huge drop in stride, but there are steps you can take if you’re worried about further declines

Stocks continued their downward slide on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 1,400 points, or almost 6 percent. Since its February high, the index is down more than 20 percent, which puts it in bear market territory.

Still, most investors should hang tight, financial advisers say.

This latest market plunge follows weeks of sell-offs, which have been triggered by worries about the economic impact from the spread of coronavirus, which on Wednesday was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Deepening concerns over the lagging U.S. government response to the virus and the growing risk of a recession helped push the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq down by 4.9 and 4.7 percent, respectively.

With this pullback, the S&P 500 is down 1.8 percent for the past 12 months. Still, over the past decade, the benchmark is up more than 200 percent.

“There’s no need to head for the bunker,” says Dan Wiener, chairman of Adviser Investments in Newton, Mass. “The historical evidence suggests this will be a short-term economic and market dislocation.”

That said, it may require a couple of years or more for the stock market to fully recover from these sharp declines. And with the coronavirus still spreading in the U.S., investors are likely to face more sharp market drops in the coming months.

Even so, for investors with a well-diversified portfolio, who have cash on hand for emergencies and short-term needs, it’s best to stick with your strategy.

“Oftentimes, the right decision is to keep doing what you’re doing,” says John Pilkington, senior financial adviser at Vanguard.

But for those who cannot sleep at night, or feel they will need to tap their assets sooner, you may need to take some steps, such as shifting some money from stocks to bonds or cash.

If you’re among this latter group, consider these three investment strategies.

1. Review Your Asset Mix

Chances are you haven’t updated your portfolio allocations lately. Few 401(k) investors make any changes after signing up. But what was right for you in your 20s or 30s may be too aggressive in your 40s or 50s, when your investing time horizon is much shorter.

To figure out what mix works for you now, test your risk tolerance. Say stocks plunged 50 percent, similar to what happened in the 2008 to 2009 bear market. If you hold 70 percent of your portfolio in stocks and 30 percent in bonds, that move might erase one-third of your portfolio. Perhaps you muddled through without panicking in the last financial crisis, but would you be able to hang on now? If you’re married, how would your spouse feel about these losses?

For those who would rather not see a rerun of that scenario—in particular, older investors and retirees—you would do well to shift a portion of your stocks into bonds for a tamer asset mix, says Tom Fredrickson, a fee-only certified financial planner in Brooklyn, N.Y.

If you hold, say, a 70/30 stock-and-bond mix, consider shifting to a 60/40 or 50/50 allocation instead, which would limit your losses. By scaling out of stocks, you will also be locking in some of your profits.

Still, keep in mind that you still need to keep a stake in stocks for inflation-beating growth over the long-term. The flight to safety has slashed the yield on bonds, with the 10-year Treasury note recently yielding just 0.8 percent, down from 1.87 percent in January and far below the inflation rate, recently 2.5 percent.

2. Rebalance Your Portfolio

Choosing an asset mix does no good if you don’t maintain it through rebalancing. Someone who started in 2012 with a 60/40 stock-and-bond mix and failed to rebalance might have closer to a 70/30 mix today, as a result of the big gains in stocks and modest returns on bonds.

Though a sustained market decline could bring your portfolio closer to the original allocation, a better strategy is to rebalance, says Fredrickson. To do this, sell just enough of your winning investments and add that money to your laggards to bring your portfolio back to its original allocation or to the one that’s right for you today.

An even simpler strategy is to opt for an all-in-one fund, such as a target-date retirement fund, that automatically rebalances for you across a wide range of assets.

3. Step Up Your Saving

Although you may not be able to earn hefty returns in the coming years, there’s one key factor you can control, says Fredrickson: your savings rate. Boosting the amount you stash away means you will be less dependent on high returns to reach your financial goals. And you don’t have to take a lot of risk to get there.

To make sure you save more, automate your contributions, starting with your 401(k) plan, and try to put away the max, which is $19,500 in 2020. (Those 50 and older can put away an additional $6,500.) For IRA investors, the max is $6,000; those 50 and older can contribute an additional $1,000.

Can’t save that much? Hike your contribution rate another percentage point or two for now and aim to increase it more in the future. And if you get a raise or receive a windfall, stash some or all of the money away. That way, your portfolio will stay on track whatever the market does.

Coronavirus Relief: Put People First!

Tell Congress to help families struggling to pay their bills.

How to keep track of how you're growing

Elizabeth Yuko

How to keep track of how you're growing

When you think of gardening tools, items like gloves, spades, and pruning sheers probably come to mind. But it turns out, there’s something else that can be extremely valuable for your garden: a journal. In an article for Food52, Master Gardener Nadia Hassani explains why. Here’s what to know.

How to pick a gardening journal

There’s no “perfect” gardening journal. In fact, it can take several different forms, according to Hassani:

How you keep track of what you grow — with a garden app, notebook, monthly planner, index cards, or on spreadsheets — doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you and you record things while they’re still fresh in your memory. As with anything else, record-keeping takes the guesswork out of gardening so you can focus your efforts on making your plants thrive.

Basic information to record

Whether you’re an experienced gardener, or relatively new to the activity, there are two things Hassani says are essential in a gardening journal:

Specifically, you’re going to want to draw a map of your garden — to scale — and record what you plant where. Here’s Hassani to explain why:

Figure out how much space each crop will need, mark it on your map, and plant accordingly. You will need the map for your garden next year to practice crop-rotation, a very old farming practice that avoids planting crops of the same families in the same spot for at least two years in a row. For example, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes are all members of the nightshade family, so you should not plant tomatoes in the same spot where you planted peppers the year before.

Planting and fertilizing dates

This one’s a little easier than making a map. Basically, you want to write down what you planted and when. This is especially the case if you’re starting from seed, Hassani writes, “so you’ll know the time frame in which you can expect to see growth, or whether the seeds have failed to germinate and you should reseed.”

Also keep track of the dates when you fertilize your garden, as well the type of fertiliser you use. Do the same thing for any pest- or disease-control products. “By and large, too little is better than too much, because overdoing fertiliser or chemicals can harm your plants,” Hassani says.

Additional useful information

On top of drawing the map and recording the important dates, there are a few other things Hassani says that more advanced gardeners might want to include in their journal. These include:

Harvest dates (to give you an idea of what to expect next year)

Which pests are a problem, and when

Your favourite plants and where you purchased the seeds/seedlings

How to keep track of how you're growing

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My wife and I turned the flame of our burgeoning relationship into a raging blaze on an epic three and a half month, 8,000 mile motorcycle trip. The result, over 17 years of marriage and eight kids! It’s been a magical journey, but nothing about it has been easy. It has taken work and more than a few difficult days to make life a joyful adventure.

I wanted to share a few of the lessons we have learned on keeping a relationship growing, more often than not, the hard way. We’ve thrown things, we’ve yelled, we’ve wanted to quit, we’ve wallowed in the distance of anger, yet we’ve persevered and learned to grow a relationship that is as deep as it is wide.

Here are ten thoughts on growing in a relationship:

  1. You don’t have to settle. You can grow your relationship and make it something that continually enhances your life. A good relationship is like anything you love, you must be committed to learning, to growing, and always looking to improve. When you feel like you’ve settled, you need to act, or else that settling becomes a chasm of stagnation or worse.
  2. Arguing is good. Many studies show that couples who argue have healthier relationships. It took a while to learn this in our relationship. For so long I saw arguments as a failure, but the truth is that they are necessary components of a healthy relationship. To argue well, i.e. when the sparks are done flying you can actually talk, means you must respect each other and the relationship enough to fight for it.
  3. Say you are sorry, and own it. When an argument goes bad, just walk away. Then when you can own your part in the debacle, return and say you are sorry. Expect nothing in return. This kind of unconditional response to adversity is a sure sign to your loved one that your relationship is more than skin deep.
  4. Make time to talk about your relationship. Schedule time where you give each other an opportunity to talk about the relationship without judgement or animosity. And by “talk about your relationship”, I mean treat your relationship like a third person. Are we talking enough, are their unresolved issues, etc.
  5. Remind yourself often of why you fell in love in the first place. Look at old pictures, tell old stories, remember those first magnetic embers of love. We aren’t just who we are in this moment, we are a culmination of the past, the present, and the future. Use the victories and lessons of the past as fuel for future growth.
  6. Share small adventures. Our lives can get so busy we begin to forget about small pleasures. Go for walks, shopping together, coffee, whatever. When life has consumed us, even a short pleasure can seem like a walk on the beach.
  7. Spend time totally focused on your partner. Massage them until your fingers cramp up, listen and don’t talk, go with them on an errand they could do alone, write them a poem or love letter like you did when you were falling in love. Pray for them. Focusing on them will make the relationship stronger.
  8. Schedule space for each other. You need space to grow. A suffocating relationship kills growth. We need freedom in the safety of a commitment. A strong relationship is one that is conscious of this space. Here is some good insight into a fully conscious relationship from www.mindbodygreen.com.
  9. Keep track of your growth. Set goals for the relationship and keep track of them. Growing a relationship is like anything else of value, you need to plan, set goals, work, and review.
  10. A healthy relationship is two individuals working together. A healthy relationship is kind of like a trinity, two individuals create something deeper and better than themselves, yet they are still themselves. For a relationship to grow, you must also grow as an individual and not lose yourself. This can be really hard for mothers. They can get so caught up in work, husband, children, that they don’t know who they are anymore. Make sure you help her with that.

After 17 years of marriage, I can honestly say that the most exciting part of our relationship is what lies ahead. We made it through the incredibly hard process of learning to grow together and now the future seems filled with possibilities even as our kids grow and we age. Life is about living. Living is about growth. Any healthy relationship makes you better, it encourages you to grow, it is there for you when you stumble and falter.

A relationship is hard work, but if you commit yourself to planting the seeds of growth, you will see something beautiful you could never imagine alone.

One more thing. As I was finishing up this article I asked my wife to take a look. She couldn’t believe I’d left out a key, monumentally important thought, so here is a bonus point for you all!

11. Morning Sex! Like anything else, work on it, make it a priority, and it only gets better and grows! There is no better way to leave behind the night’s worries and start the day with a full head of steam!