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The Power of Focus

The brain is always seeking out what’s new and what’s next, but we get better results when we focus. Focus improves efficiency and growth. Identifying what’s important and what’s not will also help determine what to focus on. Focus gives you the clear and sharply defined condition of an image, situation, task etc.

In the 16th century, there was a legal Chinese punishment called ‘The Chinese Water Torture’, where a continuous stream of dripping water strikes the same spot on the offender’s forehead for a prolonged period of time, cracking them up emotionally and leading to death in some cases. An investigation on the effectiveness of this torture found that it was effective, capable of causing so much damage even in a controlled environment.

That is what focus does. A drop of water would not have made an impact, but the consistency ensures each drop leaves the spot worse than it was.

As at the time of writing this article, 420 hours have passed from a total of 8760 hours of the New Year. If Les Brown’s quote expressed thus ‘What you focus on the longest becomes the strongest’ is anything to go by, then what you have focused on the most in the first 420 hours might turn out to be where you get the best results so far.

Staying focused can be tough sometimes due to several distractions and dwindling attention span. When you need to focus without distractions, here’s what to do:

Focus on what really matters

Identify what is worthy of your energy and what is not. Ask yourself, for optimum results, what really requires your focus today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year? Make a plan and prioritize. Identify when you function better and take advantage.

Don’t let the tough tasks build up

Typically, we tend to take care of the less tedious tasks before we move on to the tough ones.  As you continue your tasks, your energy level drops, and sometimes, so does your productivity.

If the task requires creativity and more concentration, carry it out before you move to the less difficult ones.

Manage distractions

The same way you ask what needs your attention, you need to ask and understand what is worthy of your distraction. While at work, you can schedule a time to attend to some of these necessary distractions. Eg. Checking your phone etc.

Pause to replay

Sometimes you need to take a few minutes break from everything to re-energize your brain. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.

PFAs invest N224.7bn in real estate

The Pension Fund Administrators have invested a total of N224.7bn of the increasing funds under the Contributory Pension Scheme in real estate.

Latest figures obtained from the National Pension Commission indicate that this amount represents 3.03 per cent of the total N7.4tn assets under the management of the pension operators.

The commission also stated that substantial funds had been invested in domestic and foreign ordinary shares, the Federal Government of Nigeria and state securities, among other investment portfolios.

Last year, the commission reviewed the regulations for the investment of pension funds, stating that the PFAs must offer a multi-fund structure for the Retirement Savings Accounts of contributors.

It also stated that there would be a transition period of six months, effective from the commencement date of the multi-fund structure, for all the PFAs to restructure their respective portfolios.

“The multi-fund structure shall comprise Fund I, Fund II, Fund III, and Fund IV (retiree fund). Funds I, II, III, and IV shall, however, differ according to their overall exposure to variable income instruments,” it stated.

The Pension Reform Act was enacted to provide a contributory scheme for the payment of retirement benefits of employees in both public and private sectors.

The Act mandates every employee to open a Retirement Savings Account in their name with any PFA of their choice and notify their employer.

Employers, according to the law, are required to deduct eight per cent of the workers’ monthly emolument and add another 10 per cent, which should be paid into each employee’s RSA not later than seven days after the salary is paid.

The Chairman, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Mr. Eguarehide Longe, said the pension funds were active in different investment portfolios.

“We are there to invest in a way that the funds will not be lost,” he said.

According to him, if the funds are used for infrastructure, this can have significant impact on the economy.

Longe, who said some investors had been approaching the operators to access the funds, noted that the real sector was not a place where they could just invest huge amount, adding that sectors such as agriculture were areas that needed to be well understood before investing the funds there.

Originally published in The Punch

Signs your building is on the verge of collapse

A building may collapse for many reasons. In Nigeria, structural failure is the most common cause and we have had incessant news and reports of collapsed buildings recently. Ofcourse, the general conclusion is that the construction team was made up of quacks. It’s more shocking when you realize some of these buildings were constructed by reputable companies.

Buildings collapse when overstressed construction reaches a critical stress level and it is often atrocious, leading to lose of lives and properties. However, the truth is the signs are always there, but sometimes we choose to ignore. Noticing these signs early would not only save lives but also offer a chance to correct and maybe save the property.

This also comes in handy if you would like to purchase a home.

Simply look out for these early signs:

‘Crack Crack Crack’ in the Wall

When there is a major crack, it means the walls are under pressure and are no longer able to support the weight of the roof. That is a major sign right there. Do not ignore it, it may lead to a building collapse.

There are 2 types of cracks: structural and non-structural.

Unusual sounds

Creaking and popping sounds in a building should never be ignored. Those sounds could be a warning of an imminent collapse and should be immediately investigated.

Moving house

This is a red flag!!! When your building is moving, it’s a no brainer, it’s a warning of an impending collapse. This movement does not mean you would find your house distressingly seated miles or plots away from where it is located. It just means, some particular parts of the building shift from their original positions.

Sagging floors and roofs

Sagging floors which is often caused by inadequate support beneath load-bearing walls or heavy room partition walls, is a special sign of building collapse because it often goes unnoticed. You should also pay attention and not ignore once noticed.

2018 set to be robust for global commercial real estate

2017 is turning out to be a good year for commercial real estate and, barring any major shocks, 2018 will follow a similar track. Investment and leasing markets should remain broadly stable through 2018 with the global economy in its best shape since the Great Recession.

2018 Prospects:  Capital Values 2% Increasing , Rents 3% Increasing , Development -1% Slowing , Vacancy Rate 12.5% Rising , Leasing 39 m sqm Stable  and Investment -5-10%. Lower leasing, vacancy, development, rents and capital values relate to the office sector.

Investor appetite for real estate continues.

Investors continue to target real estate despite a market light on investable assets. They are also more disciplined in their investment strategies, taking a considered approach as major real estate markets enter their late-cycle stage. This is likely to constrain real estate volume growth next year.

London regains investment crown.

London has regained its position as the top investment destination, while Los Angeles moves ahead of New York into second place. Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Singapore are attracting more capital, and Berlin has posted its strongest quarter on record, emerging as a hotspot for cross-border investors.

Companies demand flexible space

Organisations are seeking flexible working space in response to an ever-increasing pace of business change. This is driving the growth of the co-working sector, with JLL estimating that 30% of all office space will have a flexible component by 2030.

Logistics rents to edge higher in 2018

Demand is outpacing supply in logistics markets worldwide, driven by the ascent of e-commerce. This means that industrial rents are likely to edge higher in 2018, spurred by a further increase in take-up and persistently low market vacancy.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Decisions for the Future- Afriland Properties Plc Holds Strategy Session

The Board of Directors and Management of Afriland Properties Plc earlier in the week held a strategy session to plan the future of the real estate firm with one of the largest land banks in Nigeria. As the company targets the top 3 ranked companies in the real estate market in terms of revenue and net cash flow by 2020 and top 5 ranked institutions in Africa by revenue and cash flow by 2025, discussions at the meeting centered on Afriland’s growth strategy from 2018 onwards.

This includes several means of harnessing the growth potential, which is expected to drive Nigeria’s real estate sector in the nearest future.

The session which took place at Westwood Hotels in ikoyi, held discussions to validate current performance and capabilities, analyse global and local macroeconomic environment and develop strategic priorities and objectives with special focus on capital funding options for development projects.

Also present at the session were Dr. Awele Elumelu, Chief Executive Officer, Avon Medical Services Limited, Mr Billi Odum, Company Secretary, United Bank for Africa, Kayode Fadahunsi, CEO, Prosperis Hodings and other external consultants.

See more pictures below:

Managing Expectations

There are people who believe having no expectations is the key to happiness. This may not be true as expectation is a form of target. We always have expectations, whether we realize it or not.

When they are not met, someone somewhere is disappointed, irritated or angry. In our relationships, business and organizations, expectations raise the bar and increase productivity. Reputation is everything in business and the more you can manage expectations the more you achieve customer satisfaction.

Don’t assume

The first step to managing expectations is to be sure you get the context. What exactly is required of you? Every single detail is important and so you have to ask questions until you are sure of what is actually expected.

Discuss what is expected at every point. This is the appropriate time to commit to what will be delivered, how it will be delivered and when it will be delivered. Your colleague might have a different understanding of the same situation or project, so discuss it to be on the same page and that’s how success will be measured.

Note: Once there is miscommunication, expectations won’t be met.


Communication is the backbone of every business. Your stakeholders have to be contacted on a frequent basis. In the early stages of a new project or as milestones or deadlines approach, you have to keep communicating.

Even in extreme cases where you foresee expectations won’t be met, you have to communicate, state clearly the new plan and reach an agreement. For example, if there would be a delay in delivering a particular task, managing expectations professionally would be to communicate ahead of time with honest reasons this is unavoidable and a plan B. Also ensure transparency in your communication.

Ask for more time if possible

Expectations should be realistic and achievable. If you perceive otherwise, then this should be up for discussion. You can ask to extend the timeline if you can present your case believably and convincingly.

This part is one of the most important aspects of expectation management, so if you can nail this, you are good to go.

Unlock your creativity in 3 steps

We live in the age of creativity!!!It goes without saying that Man was born to create. It would be great to note at this point that creativity is a skill and not a talent. One of the keys to creativity is imagination. Though they are related, there is a huge difference between the two. If these ideas come to you but never come to reality, you are imaginative not creative. To be labelled creative you actually have to create.

You may be one of those who question the need for creativity. Creativity provides fresh insight and a new viewpoint on even the most monotonous elements of your job. It enables you to view challenges and problem-solving as a creative opportunity. In summary, creativity is required for a success in the ecosystem of today’s business world. Talent has very little to do with creativity. Just like every form skill, creativity is learned, practiced and developed! In other words, it requires time, training and effort.

How can you live up to your creativity potential? Unlock with these 3 steps below:

Perceive the world in new ways

Thinking out of the box and trying to make connections between seemingly unrelated singularities will generate fresh ideas.

This is more than just a motivational cliché. It simply encourages you to approach problems and challenges in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing problems differently; and understanding your position in relation to any particular situation in a way you’d never thought of before. Instead of running from challenges, you run towards them and look for opportunities to shine.

There is no Creativity without Knowledge

You just have to be knowledgeable to be creative. You have to seek information; History, science, politics, entertainment, art, business, entrepreneurship, health, economy, education, food and so much more. Know things, be ready to try different ways and take risks. You have to develop the ability to challenge your assumptions and simply ask questions. Be curious about everything. Random and seemingly unrelated ideas could come together to form a new idea, connect the dots and provide a solution when you least expect.

Connect with creative people

Basically, the crowd that you hang out with influences your actions and ultimately the way you think. Connecting with creative people would give you the opportunity to have insights into their creative thinking process and this is very important.

You’d be surprised how simply spending time with them in a variety of creative endeavors will spark your creative juice. You’d be more curious, more open, more optimistic and more interested.

Experts seek law to tackle housing challenges

Stakeholders in the housing sector have advocated for a law that will help Nigerians surmount challenges facing the provision of affordable housing in the country.

They also said that time has come for government at all levels to leverage and unlock the potentials in that sector to improve the economy.

According to them, challenges such as poor financing, high cost of land acquisition and the difficulties in getting tittles to land could easily be addressed if relevant laws are enacted to nip them in the board.

Speaking on, ”Financing Affordable Housing in Nigeria, Issues,and Challenges”, a human settlement expert, Professor, Banji Oyeyinka said that time has come for the Nigerian government to enact relevant laws that will remove all obstacle such as high interest rates difficulty in land acquisition as well as massive provision of infrastructure.

Oyeyinka, a former director, UNHabitat, African region made this known in his keynote address to a two-day programme organized by the Nigeria Integrated Social Housing Cooperative Society Limited (NISH) in Abuja.

“We must quickly remove the scourge of poverty and deprivation and inequality in our cities and in urban centres through relevant laws, this is because sustainable housing is tied to the level of income, time has come for us to know that affordable housing is not a social issue but an economic issues, failure for government at all level to find solutions to these lingering problems, Nigerian cities will continue to witness influx of the rural populace to the city centres with its attendant overstretching infrastructures to the detriment of all”.

Earlier, the convener and founder of the NISH project, Mr Yemi Adelakun said he came up with the NISH idea with the aim of at mobilizing, profiling and empowering off-takers of affordable housing especially, retirees, political appointees, professionals , entrepreneurs, private sector employees, artisans and other in the informal sector.

He said that the most critical and most challenging in delivering affordable housing is Housing finance itself.

“We need finance to buy land, technologies, building materials, infrastructure and to pay workers and professionals, we also need finance to buy completed houses , finance is however, a scarce and very difficult resource, therefore, our task is to seek efficient means of increasing the supply and reducing the cost of both construction and mortgage finance, we must identify domestic and foreign sources as well as alternative options of financing affordable housing including equity financing”

The Head of service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita congratulated the convener and founder of NISH, for his vision in making franctic efforts to drive affordable housing initiative for the benefit of Nigerians.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office in the Office of the Head of Service, Mr. Ayodele Folayan, the HOS said that goverment will explore the potentials of the Federal Integrated Housing Scheme (FISH) and NISH to further drive affordable housing programme for the benefit of Nigerians.

Originally published in The Guardian

7 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pests in Your Home

Household pests are uninvited and unwanted guests but they still find their way in anyway. Cockroaches, termites, ants, rodents, flies, mosquitoes, bugs, fleas! Sounds familiar? Apart from the uncomfortable feeling experienced just because they creep or fly from wall to wall, some bite, sting and even transmit diseases. Cockroaches are synonymous with dirt, poor hygiene and are suspected carriers of organisms that cause typhoid fever, cholera etc.

A research by the National Pest Management Association also shows that termites cause over $5 billion of damage to properties in the U.S. each year.

Chemicals and insecticides are often used but are not without health risks and they do not permanently solve the problem. Thus, families are becoming more aware of the harmful effects associated with these chemicals and are applying natural ways to deal with the situation.

Here are 7 ways to pest proof your home naturally:

Get rid of standing water

This is one of the most effective ways to limit reproduction and survival potential of mosquitoes in your home. Basically, water aids reproduction because they like to lay eggs in and around standing water. Female mosquitoes particularly like to lay eggs in water stored in manmade containers. If you have to store up water, make use of containers that can be covered.

This is also applicable to your surrounding and not just indoors.

Keep your bathroom and kitchen clean always

Pests are attracted to oil, filth, moisture, sugar, etc., so they seek access to kitchens and bathrooms through sewage and drain pipe or cracks in the slab.

These two seem to be the most common hiding and breeding sites for pests because they are probably the most used rooms in your home. The bathroom is humid and creates a conducive atmosphere for pests to survive while the kitchen usually contains food debris, unwashed plates and oil.

Kitchen tips

  • Pick up anything that falls on the floor right away
  • Cover trash can and empty regularly
  • Cook more slowly
  • Clean tiles with baking soda

Bathroom tips

  • Remove all the items that don’t belong in your bathroom
  • Disinfect and wash the toilet bowl regularly
  • Scrub tiles and corners always
  • Clean wall, windows, shower, etc.

Use Sticky Traps

Although this only traps crawling pests, it’s a very effective method of keeping pests away from your home.  Traps can also be used to gauge how bad your invasion is if there’s any.

This method works for cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, mites, rats and other crawling insects.

Lemon and Lemon Peel

Using fresh lemon or lemon peel will keep mosquitoes, ants and flies away. This also works for outdoor gatherings and parties.

Use Vinegar

Apart from being a good cleaning agent, vinegar is a great herbicide and provides a strong barrier for insects and spiders without toxins.  Through its natural acidity, vinegar gets rid of ants, spiders and other insects.

Vinegar can also be used as a bait. Fruit flies will flock to the jar and drown in the mixture.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus can help keep certain pests under control. Just mix of a few drops with water and spritz on bedding, carpets and rugs.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaner is a very effective pest control tool. Some pests such as bugs hide in the hardest places where they can’t be reached, vacuum cleaner would do the work of evicting them.

House of Assembly wades into Lagos government-owned estates’ dilapidation

Worried by the deplorable state of Lagos owned estates, the State House of Assembly has set up a seven-man committee to address the situation.

Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said the committee headed by the Acting Chairman of the House Committee on Housing, Ibrahim Layode are to report back to the House in two weeks.

Members of the committee include Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, Idimogu Jude, Noheem Adams, Abiodun Tobun, Oladipupo Olorunrinu and Rasheed Makinde.

The committee was set up in reaction to a motion moved by the majority leader, Sanai Agunbiade, and other lawmakers.In the motion, Agunbiade called the attention of the lawmakers to the deplorable state of the estates spread across the state, stressing that most of them have become shadows of their old selves.

He added that many occupants have changed government plans for the estates.“The estates have become dilapidated as they lack maintenance, the premises are dirty, and people build all sorts of structures around the estate,” he said.

Supporting the motion, Yinka Ogundimu, stated that if the situation continues, the houses in the estates would keep collapsing.Also speaking, Adebisi Yusuff, said that most of the estates in his area are in a bad state, adding that some owners have even sold them, and are now living inside containers.

“There should be facility managers for the estates. For instance, Jakande Estate in Abesan should have a Police station, but the whole land have been occupied illegally,” he said.

Another lawmaker, Omotayo Oduntan noted that most of the estates have become over-populated over the years.But Makinde, stressed that the problem with the estate has to do with lack of lay out plans as evidenced with FESTAC 77 Estate in Amuwo Odofin, which he said, has become a den of armed robbers.

Other lawmakers including Olawale Olayiwola, Noheem Adams, Saka Solaja, corroborated some of these observations, but Dipo Olorunrinu denied the claim that hoodlums have taken over FESTAC 77 Estate.

Originally published in The Guardian

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