Books I’ve Read Lately: September & October

Each month I’m sharing the books I’ve read recently. Today I’m catching up on September and the beginning of October.

Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey: I’ve been listening to The Dave Ramsey Show regularly for about five years now. I’ve heard Dave talk about his book Entreleadership repeatedly. It’s a guide to growing your business from the ground up, or “from the trenches” as he says. I actually purchased this book for my husband when it first came out. He read it and it has sat on the bookshelf since then. I kept looking at it saying I would read it, too. But it wasn’t until I started my own business that I finally decided it was time. Overall this book was an easy, quick read. Many of the chapters deal with aspects of business that do not apply to what I do – building a team, dealing with coworker conflict, encouraging your team. But I still read every chapter and found great benefit from the chapters on goal setting, creating a mission statement, watching the numbers and more. If anything, after reading this book you will walk away with a better idea of how to lead yourself and encouragement as you set out to achieve your dreams.

Eat Move Sleep, by Tom Rath: Somewhat coincidentally, author Tom Rath was a guest on the Entreleadership podcast at one point. I wrote down the title of his book after hearing his convincing story about the importance of diet, movement and proper sleep. Probably the most shocking part of this book came in the first few pages. It said that out of a group of three friends, one of those friends will develop cancer during their lifetime. I started reading this book on the patio on a warm summer day with – you guessed it – two other friends. Rath talks about many of the practices we are already familiar with but breaks them down into small, easy tasks. He tries to make healthy living an ongoing improvement process. I gathered several tips from this book and it’s the sort of book I could see myself re-reading simply because too much information was shared to fully remember in detail. But if you forget the details just remember – eat better, move more and get enough sleep.

Six Time Tracking Tools for Mac Users

Does the idea of tracking your time sound tedious? Does it overwhelm you? But do you believe it might help be you more successful in your personal life or career? I recently experienced all the same thoughts. I wanted to track my time to analyze how I spend it, with the intention of becoming a more successful small business owner. I seek to work hard… but not all the time. That’s just a road to burnout.

Last weekend I researched time tracking software and apps for Mac. I sorted through recommendations from industry colleagues and did my own research. I found a lot of options, but only a handful that have the features I am seeking and fit in my budget. You can pay $40+ per month for time-tracking software if you really want to.

While I have not reached a clear winner yet, I have started testing applications. I am testing one app per week for the next six weeks with the intent of finding the best app for me and then purchasing it. Below is a list of the apps I am trying. All of them are free or come with a free trial before purchase is required.

Oh and one more side note, my other requirements were apps that did not have a monthly fee (I prefer a one-time fee), has a reports or charts option to analyze time use and lastly, apps that are either downloadable or cloud-based. The idea of having to log into a website (and face further distraction) to record my time did not appeal to me.

six time tracking tools for mac uers

Six Time Tracking Tools for Mac Users

1) Time Edition: free, downloadable app, integrates with Google Calendar

2) Minco: $15, downloadable app, comes with free trial

3) OfficeTime: $8, downloadable app, comes with free trial. MacBook Pro software is $47.

4) Caato Time Tracker: $20 for pro version, downloadable app, free version available

5) Klok: $20, cloud-based, comes in “lite version” which is free

6) TaskTime4: $20, downloadable app for your dock, comes with free trial, includes invoicing

A September Update on My Garden

This season is the one where we begin to see transition into fall. In September I’m still gathering a bounty from this year’s harvest but I’m also preparing for fall cool season crops and beginning those end of year chores. At this point the only foods I’m actively harvesting are tomatoes and green beans. I have carrots but when I checked them they still did not appear ready to be picked. I planted spinach in early August only to have it sprout and be destroyed by deer and rabbits. My plan is to re-plant some more spinach in my cold frame box for fall.

Right before Labor Day my garden was ravaged by deer. Something had to be done. I ended up concocting my own strong mixture of eggs, chili powder and garlic and literally basted all the tasty plants. Yes, I was in the backyard with a mixing bowl and a baster.

The good news – it’s working! The putrid smell must have been so bad that the critters immediately tried to find a new breakfast spot. The smell actually isn’t bad after the mixture dries. I had to reapply it after heavy rain too – just to make sure there was still enough to deter the deer.

I know going into the 2015 garden season I have to plan better for this. Whether I continue to make my own mixture, or stock up on something mass-produced, I now know and believe the deer are unforgiving to gardeners. Spraying for deer may just become a weekly chore just like mowing the lawn and doing the trimming.

green beans
Other chores this month include seeding bald patches in the lawn, fall pruning, dead heading blooms and covering garden boxes for the winter to deter spring weeds and prevent soil erosion. I already covered one with some grass clippings. Last year I tried a cover crop but I found the upkeep to remove it in the spring to be too much work.