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Archive for July, 2013
From Manager to Mommy Mode

After a long day of meetings and deadlines, switching gears to making dinner and helping the kids with homework can be challenging.  Many working moms find it difficult to leave the office behind and go from being a manager to a mommy.  In fact, 50% of working moms find it tough to make the shift.  Here are some tips to smooth the transition.

Make a “to-do” list. Before you leave the office, jot down a quick office “to-do” list for the next day.  This will help jump-start your next workday, and leave you less apt to think about work at home.  After you make your list, forget about it – until tomorrow.

Change your tune. Instead of listening to a leadership development podcast on your commute home, listen to your favorite CD.  Music can help relax you before you walk in the front door.  Your kids will sense if you’re still tense from work.

Focus on fun. If you worry about all you have to get done at home – making dinner and driving your son to soccer practice – family time can feel like another job.  Focus on the fun stuff instead.  Plan an after-dinner walk with your family or a trip to your local ice cream shop for dessert.  Thinking ahead about this time together will help you to live in the mommy moment.

For more tips on how to balance work and family, read Passport to Priorities: Your Road Map to Balanced Living.

Rid Your Office Space of Distractions & Disgrace!

We face distractions everywhere, but the seemingly endless time-wasters at work can affect not only productivity, but one’s reputation and self-esteem. To put forth your best effort on the job, it’s vital to know the difference between easily fixable distractions and activities or perceptions whose impact on productivity can be misunderstood.

One of the greatest potential obstacles to productivity is your work environment. To address distracting noise, including conversations, music and presentations, consider masking it with professional-grade headphones or by placing a white noise machine in the vicinity of the sounds.

In the pre-Internet era, talking on the phone at work was a necessity. That’s no longer true for everyone. Even though it might seem like a convenient way to complete some office tasks, answering non-urgent calls sets you up to be interrupted and delayed. Set specific time periods during which you don’t take calls unless they are truly urgent. Indicate this on your voicemail greeting, letting callers know when they can reach you or when you will be able to get back to them. When you must take phone calls, stand while talking on the phone. It will shorten the length of the conversation.

Though phone calls eat up time unnecessarily, embracing social media to share ideas with colleagues ultimately can help you become more productive. While it may sound counter-intuitive, one ASU management professor says technology can bolster personal relationships with telecommuting workers, part-time employees and staffers who work in satellite offices. The professor says that social networking sites nurture casual and candid rapport and can be an important ingredient in building links between coworkers.

Myths about effective work habits can actually reduce your efficiency if you buy into them. For example, multi-tasking doesn’t necessarily boost efficiency. Rather, multi-tasking may be a sign that you can’t commit. Cognitive research has revealed that “every shift in direction, every switch in tasks…costs.”

The phrase “time management” doesn’t make sense because time cannot be managed. We can’t manufacture time or manipulate it. Focusing language on “time” rather than on “priorities” results in avoiding responsibilities. It justifies sitting in a time management course rather than completing a task.  We can manage priorities, but not time itself.

It’s also a myth that the most productive people are the busiest. If productivity means acting on priorities, then reflection, assessment, conversation and planning are required for real productivity.

The bottom line is that understanding what constitutes a needless distraction and what can translate into helpful collaboration or “priority management” can lead to a superior work product. Minimizing true distractions and maximizing opportunities to connect with colleagues is the essence of real productivity.

To learn more about eliminating time-wasters, listen to Take Control of Your Time audio.

More Women are Primary Breadwinners

Women make up nearly half of workers in America today, and are taking on more responsibility for the pocketbook too!  For the first time, a record 40% of U.S. households with children under the age of 18 are headed by bread-winning mothers.  That’s quadruple the rate in 1960, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The term ‘breadwinner’, applies not only to married mothers who earn more than their husbands, but also single mothers who are the sole household earners.  The married, breadwinner mothers fare well.  The median total family income of married, breadwinner mothers was $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children.  Married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college-educated (as compared with all mothers with children).

However, Americans have conflicting feelings about women’s rise in the workplace.  Around three-quarters of adults say more working women has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made it harder for marriages to be successful, according to Pew.  But two-thirds admitted that it has made it easier for families to earn enough money to live comfortably.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Do more women working for pay make it harder to raise children?  Does it make it harder for marriages to be successful?  Please share your thoughts with other readers.

Excerpted from “Women Continue Rising as Breadwinners” article in Business Insider.

Reinvent Yourself

Are you stuck in a rut?  Has your life become routine – doing the same thing day in and day out?  Has your once happy life become ho-hum?

If so, it’s time for a change!  Explore what’s missing that you’ve wanted to do, see, or change.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Look for something new and embrace change.

What do you want to change?  Something small – like changing your hair style or make-up?  Or something big – like moving to a new home?  According to a recent survey from MORE Magazine, here are the top ten things readers said they wanted to change about themselves.

  1. Travel more
  2. Make new friends
  3. Try a new sport or fitness routine
  4. Change your job or career
  5. Change your living space or location
  6. Take a class or go back to school
  7. Change your hair or make-up / find a new romantic partner (tie)
  8. Change the way you dress
  9. Volunteer
  10. Start a business

What’s on your Top 5 list?  Pick one of your top 5 and commit to it.  Whether it’s joining a gym or taking a cooking class, get started today!  If you need support for making a big transition – like changing your job or career – contact me for a complimentary 30-minute coaching consultation.

What one change will you commit to?  Please share with other readers.