August 21, 2013

There is help for working moms (and dads)

The start of the school year is hectic in my home. Judging by the conversations in the school supply aisle of Target this week, I'm not alone. But I know lots of working moms (and dads) who are making their work life balance easier this year by outsourcing responsiblities.

Today, in my Miami Herald column, I wrote about this trend. I'm convinced, there will be even more services catering to working parents in the next few years.

 

There’s help for busy moms who can’t do it all

 
 
Customers Zora Guzman and Mateo use the Moms Helping Moms shuttle.
Customers Zora Guzman and Mateo use the Moms Helping Moms shuttle. 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

BALANCEGAL@GMAIL.COM

Just after breakfast, a van pulls up at the Lopez home in Coral Springs. Thirteen-year-old Emily gets in and heads off to middle school, saving mom, Diana, from delaying her 1 ½-hour commute to her job in Miami. The same shuttle picks Emily up after school and takes her to ballet class. Some afternoons, it picks up her older sister at home and takes her to be tutored in math or takes her home from school if she stays late for a club meeting.

Lopez, an international private banker whose husband works in Miami too, says hiring a transportation service has been the only way she can keep a regular work schedule, be home for dinner and have her children participate in after-school activities. “I believe in the theory that it takes a village to raise a child,” Lopez says. “But these days, we’re hiring the village.”

Working parents today are paying others to do things for our children that our parents did themselves — drive our kids to school, help them with homework, cook for our families and take them to baseball practice. The services are needed because things have changed dramatically for working mothers in the last few decades. For starters, there are simply many more moms in the labor force. The participation rate has skyrocketed to more than 70 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Family economics have change dramatically, too. As the number of women in the workforce swelled, so, too, did their contribution to family income. A record 40 percent of all households with children include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11 percent in 1960. With mothers contributing more, managing a household becomes a simple equation of trading money for time.

It can be an expensive exchange — financially and emotionally — and not everyone can afford it.

“It’s a struggle working moms go through,” Lopez says. “We ask ourselves, ‘Am I passing off something I should be doing myself?’ But then, we have to be realistic.”

Moms Helping Moms, the northwest Broward County shuttle service used by the Lopez family, gets $60 to $80 per child per week for roundtrip carpooling within five miles — more for greater distances. Founder Sharron Gay says she launched her business three years ago. As a mom who commuted an hour to work, she saw the need. “Life is too short to feel guilty or overwhelmed. We’re here to make your life easier,” the website boasts.

Gay’s five vans, driven only by moms, shuttle kids to school, activities, orthodontist appointments and sports practices. They even pick up sick children from school and bring them home. Gay says she offers the service moms want — assuring them that the bus won’t leave until the child enters the home safely. “We do things the way moms would,” she says. Gay says her service is profitable and she has plans to add more vans and new geographic areas by 2014.

Others see opportunity, too. Fueled by demand from working parents, a burgeoning cottage industry handling chores for working parents is flourishing. There are reading specialists who get $40 to $50 an hour to assist students individually at their homes on reading and writing. There are businesses that will bring dinner to hungry kids waiting for mom and dad to get home from work.

Ryan Sturgis, a partner in Delivery Dudes, says his business picks up meals from local restaurants and delivers them to Broward County homes. It has seven geographic locations (plans to add more) and charges a $5 delivery fee.

“We get a lot of moms who call on their way home from work. We tell them we can be there with dinner within 45 minutes.”

Some parents turn their world upside down to manage responsibilities before finally accepting that they can’t do it all. Eventually, they discover outsourcing a necessary expense to keep their jobs, reduce stress or get ahead in the workplace.

Miami mother Gabrielle D’Alemberte, makes a priority of the things she feels a mother should do, such as attending school functions and tucking her daughter into bed. But the single mom says she couldn’t continue to work as a trial attorney if she didn’t outsource some tasks at work and home. She has hired someone to pick her daughter up from the bus stop and take her to ballet lessons. In the past, she has hired a company to deliver meals to her home and she’s employed someone to go over her daughter’s homework and review for tests.

D’Alemberte specializes in litigation against large international resorts and often travels for work.

“I could not have had the job and profession I’ve chosen without the help I have gotten in bringing up my wonderful 13 year old,” she says. “Knowing I can’t do it all makes it easier to hire people to help.”

In a twist on outsourcing, working parents also are automating. Whitney Zimet, who ran a community coupon site for five years, hired math and Spanish tutors for her two kids. She even searched for a service to pack healthy lunch box meals. But Zimet turns to technology for relief from some tasks — using Amazon to get home delivery of required reading materials, ongoing school supplies and birthday gifts. She uses auto-delivery for kids’ vitamins and household products. .

It used to be a real point of pride for women who stayed home to take care of every aspect of their families’ lives, she says. Now women are in the workforce, used to thinking practically and doling out tasks to solve problems, and scrutinizing the value of an expense, she says. “Most of us are aware of what needs Mom’s attention, but we’re also looking at what can make our life easier."

 

June 06, 2013

The Secret to a More Productive Summer

 

  Prosummer 

These last few weeks, work life balance has been elusive. I've been crazed with the wind down of the school year and the multitude of awards ceremonies, graduation parties and performances.

 

Now here comes summer, a chance to break from routine and put a little more fun into my life. I'm looking forward to it!

 

I'm also looking forward to using the slow season to my advantage and making my summer productive. I bet you are too. If all of us are strategic, we can emerge from summer more relaxed, fulfilled, and well positioned for career success.

 

Here are a few ways to go about it:

 

1. Scope out the competition. Summer presents an ideal opportunity to study your competitors and find out what they're doing right. Research what marketing materials they are using and how they are embracing social networks. Seek opinions from customers and figure out what you might want to replicate. or improve upon. 

 

2. BrainstormIt can be challenging to think big picture when you're shuttling kids to school, helping with homework or working on a giant office project. As clients and co-workers take their vacations, use the slow time to come up with new ideas, campaigns, or approaches to doing business or solving problems. Make it fun. Take a walk at lunch or eat on a bench and come up with new ways to be better at what you do.

 

3. Get out of the office. Take advantage of somewhat lighter summer schedules and extend an invitation to a someone in your industry you've wanted to get to know. Busy people are more likely to say yes during summer. It's also a good time to go to networking events, conferences or host an office barbecue.

 

4. Assess. You probably set goals or made resolutions in January. Review them and figure out whether you're on pace to meet them by the end of the year. If you find yourself falling short, either adjust your expectations or figure out what changes to make. You may even want to set new goals to hit by year end.

 

5. Learn a new skill. Have you wanted to learn how to use Twitter or Pinterest? Do you want to get a better understanding of business terms or learn how to make flan? How-to Webinars, tutorials and online courses abound on the Internet. Set aside a block of time each week for learning.

 

6. Refresh Websites and Social Media Profiles. Having your online information as current as possible will help you in business. People often look for you online before they call you. Update your profile information in the "about" sections of social networks and create a Wikipedia page for yourself.

 

7. Go somewhereGetting away gives you perspective. A week vacation is ideal but not everyone can take time off. Look at how you can rearrange your schedule to zip somewhere for a long weekend or overnight trip. Even if you don't travel far, a shift in scenery can make you feel far away and help you head into Fall feeling refreshed.

 

 

Have a fun and productive summer!

 

 

May 09, 2013

Are we packing too much into our days?

Earlier this week I attended a funeral for a friend's mother. It was the first time in a long time that I shut my phone off for about four, almost five hours, during the work day. I felt  that if I took a peek at my phone during the mass or graveside ceremony it would be disrespectful. The odd part was how nice it felt to give myself permission to focus on just one thing.

I made the hour commute to the church with a friend who had taken the entire day off work to go to the funeral. My friend, a working mom, had run a few errands before picking me up and spent the commute home with me plotting her late afternoon errands -- taking kids to the dentist, picking up a mother's day gift, mailing a package. I spoke to her later that night and she had accomplished it all. Yet, she was absolutely exhausted.

Have we gone too far in driving ourselves to get more done? Are we trying to pack too much into our days? As a nation, we've become obsessed with productivity. Our to-dos lists are growing and our calendars are overflowing. 

So, how do we slow down?

The answer is insanely obvious...we simply be present in life.

Some days, something as simple as having a cup of coffee becomes a juggling act of replying to emails and surfing the web. Give yourself permission to do less and think more. 

What if you don't get to the 10 things on your to-do list? What if you just got to the one that made the most impact on your life for that one day?

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how to come up with a great idea. It was filled with great suggestions but the one that made the most sense is Be Present in Life. If you're not busy running around trying to pack more into your day and you just slow down, you might find a great idea is right under your nose. 

If we really want better work life balance, we are going to need to trade super-productiveness for sanity. That's hard to remember some days. But after decades of trying to be super mom, I'm finally focusing on sanity.

May 01, 2013

Work life balance makes people cry

Have you ever had a work life balance meltdown?

Be honest.

I had one years ago when my daughter was an infant. I was stuck in horrendous traffic on the commute home, and the realization hit me that another night was going to go by without my tucking her into bed. As my sitter held the phone next to her ear so I could say goodnight over my cell phone, the tears cascaded down my cheeks. I must have looked like such a crazy woman behind the wheel.

Sometimes, a good cry is all it takes to make a change. Sometimes, it's just an acknowledgment of the sacrifices that go with balancing work and family.

Recently when a group of professionals joined together on a panel called “Having It All: Balancing Work and Family/Parenting and Working 24/7”  at the NALP conference, National Association for Law Placement) a few shed tears over their work life balance struggles. 

 writes: One panelist got choked up when confessing that they missed their child’s second birthday due to a business trip. An audience member had a hard time finishing a question because she was overwhelmed by emotion when discussing her struggles as a single parent.

The panelists had lots of advice for fellow working parents. Lat shared their tips on the Above the Law blog and I in turn, am sharing them with you.

  • Get a good calendaring program and give your work team access to it so they will know when you are unavailable.
  • If you travel, check out apps like Facetime or Skype, which can help you stay in touch with your family.
  • Still on the technology front, if you’re an iPhone user, take advantage of the note- and list-making functions. You can prepare and update lists on the fly — think to do lists, grocery lists — and message them to others (like your spouse, if he or she is making the grocery trip that you usually cover).
  • You’d be amazed at what you can learn from YouTube. Kielbasa, who adopted her youngest daughter from Ethiopia, learned African hair braiding through online videos.
  • Consider blogging as a way of keeping relatives and friends up to date on your child (instead of sending mass emails or flooding Facebook with kiddie pics).
  • If you need party favors or gifts and want to go the handmade route, but don’t have time to make them yourself, you can buy such items on Etsy.
  • When getting to have a child, whether a biological child or an adoptive child, think ahead about vacation. Try to save as much vacation time in advance if you can.
  • And think ahead and plan ahead about insurance benefits, child care, and navigating your workplace after returning from giving birth. (For example, does your family have a mothers’ lounge or lactation room?)
  • Accept that you can no longer be the “go to” person for everything at the office. Figure out the areas that are essential to your professional identity or “brand,” and let go of the rest.

(These are the panelists: Michele Ward, Attorney Resources & Recruitment Manager, Winston & Strawn LLP, Moderator; Mike Gotham, Director of Attorney Recruiting and Retention, Perkins Coie LLP;Stacey M. Kielbasa, Director of Professional Development, Attorney Recruitment, and Diversity, Chapman and Cutler LLP; Malini Nangia, Director of Career Services, UCLA School of Law)

Figuring out how best to balance life and work usually is a process of trial and error. Most of us have learned that it's helpful to trade notes and find out what has worked for others. It may even save you some tears.

 

April 23, 2013

Small changes lead to work life balance

 

I loved this e-mail from a reader so much that I had to share it with all of you. It's a lesson in how to make small changes that lead to better work life balance.

 

 

Good Morning Cindy,

I'm writing to you in regards to your articles, which I read from the Miami Herald. You had the article regarding the Corp run & running with the boss. I'm not a runner but instead I took up biking. Now when I say biking I'm not talking rode biking which you see in packs normally early in the morning. Since my office is close to work I started riding to the office just to actually give me some "me time" because my husband and I own two businesses together and are together 24/7.

 

Over the Christmas holidays a friend was at my home for dinner and told me she had signed up for the Multiple Sclerosis ride from Miami (FIU Campus) to Key Largo (Holiday Inn) a 200 mile trip. Well me being just a simple sidewalk rider I said "Wow!" As the night progressed she had convinced me to sign up for this event. On Jan 9th I signed up & received my training packet. I started off with simple 5 mile rides each day to last Saturday making it to now 40 mile days.

Fitting this into work has been a large chore,even more during tax time as my average speed is (Now) around 12 MPH, so of course doing the math,  you see takes up a lot of time. So cutting 4 hours out of my work day at times has been extremely difficult. We all know how easy it is to say,  "No I need to stay at the office" instead of exercising sometimes.

With all this training that I have built up, I'm now pretty confident I will at least finish this challenge but have not said how long it may take me. The ride is April 20 & 21st, so I have 16 days left to fit in even more training  along with work.

The riding, I think, has actually made my days better in the long run because I have had so much time to think about work without any of the office interruptions. As we all know how hard it is to escape clients phone calls or emails, but it's not safe to ride a bike and talk. I can tell you everyone driving in a car is fixated with their phones. I can also say Im in much better shape now, down 12 pounds so far. So its truly been a win win....

Jackie Velazquez, Smarttarget Marketing, South Miami.

 

Jackie


 

Readers, would you consider riding your bike to work? If not, is there a small change you can make in your life to give you a better sense of balance?

March 15, 2013

Spring Break is a state of mind

Spring-break-green-beach-sunglasses-photo1

 

It's been more than three decades and I can't remember the way I was crushed by reality the first year I joined the working world and had to give up spring break. While my younger, college aged friends were enjoying their days loafing on the beach and partying at night, I was sitting in a cubicle, clacking on a typewriter (now I feel old). 

What I now realize is that spring break is not just a week of vacation, it's a state of mind. More than anything, it's a week of carefree existence.

After having kids, I have tried to take off the week when they are on Spring Break. It hasn't always worked out and even when it has, I not the carefree girl I once was. 

But that's going to change. I am allowing myself a grown up spring break and you should too, whether or not you can take time off work.

We just need to get ourselves into a Spring Break state of mind. 

First step, hit the pause button at work. Next step, give ourselves permission to have fun.

Spring Break isn't just about booze-centric fun -- it's a celebration of fun of all varieties. You like to fish? Charter a boat. You like to play video games? Get your Mindcraft on. You're on a diet? Well, not this week. Treat yourself! Eat a chocolate covered Oreo or deep-fried turkey leg. That diet will be right there where you left it a week from now.

You can't take a week off? Take the afternoon. Sit on a chaise and read a good book while sipping a pina colada. Have an all night TV watching marathon of all those shows filling up the memory on your DVR. Or just drive around in your car playing calypso music and singing along to Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! 

If you really get a little naughty and go skinny dipping.

Sometimes work life balance is about putting reality on hold and indulging in personal enjoyment...Happy Spring Break!

 

January 31, 2013

PR exec shares her secret for finding work life balance

Earlier this month, I received this email from PR executive Tadd Schwartz of Miami's Schwartz Media:

 

Cindy,


A lot of folks might be surprised to learn that the job of a PR exec is
considered one of the top five most stressful positions in the workforce
The job of a pr counselor never ends. The pressure to exceed expectations and be involved in every aspect of your client's business is enormous. The more you care , the more personal you take it when problems arise . You have to be totally engaged with your client and the media and the industry all the time - there is no half way in this biz . You have to be organized, multitask , sell, communicate and be sharp every day.  And with all that comes pressure to perform. 

Ok - I just stressed myself out - going for a run. Hope you're well 

Tadd

 

Along with the email, Tadd sent me the link to the list of the Most Stressful Jobs for 2013. I know Tadd is a runner and I'm pretty sure that helps him with stress and work life balance. 

Today another talented PR exec shares her secret for work life balance. My guest blogger is Duree Ross, president of South Florida-based Durée & Company,  an award-winning PR entrepreneur with a broad spectrum of experience spanning the corporate, agency and non-profit arenas. Durée lives in Ft. Lauderdale with her family and is an avid community advocate. She makes the stressful job of running a PR firm look managable.

  Duree

“Giving” to Achieve Balance Between My Professional and Personal Life

As president of my own public relations, marketing and special events firm for 13 years, I’ve always made it a priority to give back. Every day, I “give my professional all” to the number of for-profit clients and non-profit organizations that I proudly represent.

Notice that “give” is an important word in my vocabulary. In order to “give” in my professional life, it’s imperative that I “give” to myself and my family, every day. There is no doubt that I put an immense amount of effort and time into my work – because I love what I do. But, like many women, I am four people in one: a full-time wife, a full-time mom, and a full-time professional, and last but not least, a full-time individual who needs to take care of herself.

Each one of those “fourths” has to get equal attention in order for the whole to run smoothly.   

My husband Dwayne and I, both busy professionals, just celebrated our 12th anniversary. With our crazy
schedules, we HAVE TO make it a priority to create time for each other, and we make the most of that time.  Even during my most stressful days, a comforting smile, loving hug, and basically an “I’m
here for you” from my husband make it all better.

My 10-year-old son and 6-year old daughter are a lot like me: they’re always on the go. Whenever possible, I make it a point to be there for them, whether it’s being their chauffeur, their cheering section, or their tutor. Of course, sometimes I have client meetings, events, etc. that I can’t miss. But, the time that I get to spend with them whenever it’s humanly possible is golden. And, with a job that things change in an instant, its nice to know that I can answer calls, check emails, and do more
while I am with my children and not missing out on parts of their lives.

As many females do, I tend to put my needs last. I’m trying to get better at this. Having worked on the Go Red for Women campaign for the American Heart Association, I have a great understanding of the importance of good health. Any time I can, I work in an exercise class. I try to get adequate sleep. I try to eat healthy. Notice the word “try,” but I’m working on it.

Don’t let me fool you; life for the working mom in 2013 isn’t easy. Balance is very difficult to achieve, but it is possible and with hard work, it is possible.

 

 

January 21, 2013

You need an accountability partner -- especially on Blue Monday

 

                                             Exercise and partner


 

Today is Blue Monday. The third Monday of the new year. The day of the year the day of the year on which most of us feel at our lowest ebb.

Right about now, you might realize that achieving your goals for 2013 on our own is hard work.

But what you may not have realized is that there is somebody in your network who can help.

You need an  "accountability buddy" an old, yet tried-and-true tip for sticking to your resolutions.

I have chosen mine and it’s working out well.

For 2013, I resolved to exercise more often. My sister and I have been meeting up twice a week at an evening fitness class. Usually we will call each other or text and check in and make sure the other hasn’t come up with some excuse for weaseling out of going to class. Being accountable to someone for sticking to my resolution has made it much more doable. I haven’t missed a class yet.

You want better work life balance in 2013? You want to make time for exercise, a hobby or your family? Find an accountability partner is someone who prods you into action, will be honest with you and keep you on the right track.

If you want to get out of the office earlier in 2013, who do you know who is good with hard boundaries? What can you learn from the way they organize their day and can you ask them to hold you accountable, to check in with you on their way out so you can walk out together?  

In her new Encore Career Handbook, Marci Alboher shares the story of Cathy Abbott, a senior executive at an energy trying to figure out what she wanted to do after she retired. Cathy found a friend in her same situation who became her accountability buddy. They would meet regularly for drinks or dinner and end every get together with a statement of what they would do before their next meeting to explore what they could do next in the next stage of their lives.  Cathy eventually got a Master’s in Divinity and is now a minister. She says the regular check-ins were crucial to choosing a path.

My pal Michelle Villalobos, a motivational speaker and consultant, wants to paint more in 2013. She has blocked out 3 hours twice a week. But she knows that’s going to be easy to blow off.  Michelle asked her boyfriend to be her accountability partner and hold her to the commitment. Her boyfriend even helped her turn the garage into an art studio. When she’s supposed to be in the studio, he checks with her to make sure she is there. “It takes practice making it a habit and it helps to have someone encouraging you. It’s important who you choose because if you start resisting, you need someone who will stay on top of you and make sure you don’t give up.”

I was talking to Michelle about it and she’s completely comfortable with her boyfriend being her accountability partner to ensure she makes time for her hobby. But if her goal was to exercise more or lose weight, having him as her accountability partner might be stressful: “I might start wondering why he’s pushing me lose weight, and asking myself, “Does he think I’m fat?” It can create all kinds of insecurities.”

My point is, choose your accountability partner carefully based on your goal.

Kevin Daum, an author and columnist for Inc.com says he and a close entrepreneur friend, take an annual four day retreat to determine their futures and hold each other accountable. Kevin gives this checklist for finding an accountability partner:

  • *He or she cannot have a personal stake in your day-to-day life (No employees, creditors, etc.)
  • *He or she should be someone who is highly motivated to achieve his/her own goals, keeps
  •  commitments and stick to the process of holding someone else accountable.
  • *He or she should be someone who does not take shortcuts.
  • *He or she should be someone who knows you well enough to understand you and know your patterns.
  • *He or she should be someone who is not afraid of hurting your feelings when you need a push.
  • *He or she should be someone who is easy to reach.
  • *He or she must be someone you like and trust.

 

Some people call their accountability partner their best business asset and claim they make greater progress toward goals without getting stuck in ruts and keep from getting out of balance. Others say having an accountability partner just became annoying.

Have you ever tried an accountability coach? If so, what have you found to be the pros and cons?

 

January 07, 2013

Who to turn to for work life balance advice?

                                       Work life scale

Over the holidays, I had lunch with a friend who has been in her new job about two years. I asked her about the hours and whether the job has been more conducive to her work life balance. It was like I had let the flood gate down and suddenly she could vent, ask questions and get an outside opinion on work life matters.

If you have problems with work-life balance or overwhelming stress, it would seem logical to seek advice. But that’s not something we are prone to do.

Is it that we think we can handle it ourselves? Or, is it just that many of us don't know who to turn to for work life balance advice?

Harvey Schachter, author of  Advice is for Winners, says seeking advice is so rare – in work and in life, even in an era of counselling and consultants – that he has written a manual to encourage the process and help us navigate the terrain. “The book came about as I kept observing that people don’t seek advice and therefore make mistakes that are avoidable." He says gender is not a factor, "Generally we all are weak on seeking advice."

Schachter believes the No. 1 reason we don't ask for advice on work life issues is that it simply doesn’t occur to us. When we hit an uncomfortable situation, we don’t go through the process of asking ourselves: Do I have what it takes to handle this well, or should I seek advice? 

Right now, ask yourself: Do you have someone in mind you would go to for advice for a specific problem or issue?

Your go-to person might be right down the hall or in the next cubicle. Or he or she may be a complete outsider, someone you could become better acquainted with by asking for advice.

My suggestion is make your go-to person someone who doesn't have a stake in the outcome of your work life dilemma. For example, you wouldn't want to ask your co-worker if she thinks you should ask for a flex schedule if she has something to lose by your getting it approved. 

Good advice givers are often colleagues or even peers at another company who have navigated a similar scenario with success. He or she might even be able to help you change how you look at a situation or provide assurance that your approach or solutions make sense. Years ago, when I asked to scale back my work hours, I vented my work life issue to a women in the newsroom who had a similar schedule to the one I was requesting. She told me the pros and cons of making the change and encouraged me to ask, even guiding me with the right language to use when I made the request.

It's pretty common to create New Year resolutions around better work life balance. People pledge to give more time to their kids, or have a regular date night with their partner. Yet, we all know how hard it is to make resolutions stick. 

I think real change starts with getting in the habit of thinking about asking for advice when you are struggling with work-life balance issues and it moves on to identifying an advice giver. Remember, I'm here for you as a resource. Email me anytime at balancegal@gmail.com. Wishing you lots of fulfillment in 2013!

 

January 02, 2013

Your work life balance mantra for 2013



 

                                    Happy 2013

My son and I have the same cell phone. He knows how to work every feature on it. I don't. His is loaded with apps. Mine isn't. 

It's so easy to say it's a generational thing. But the truth is it's a time thing. I just haven't taken the time to learn how to use the features on my phone. I also haven't taken the time to figure out the apps that could make my work life balance easier.

So this year, my mantra is "show me how!"

If you want to take advantage of the work life benefits your company offers or all the technological innovations that could make your life easier, your mantra in 2013 also needs to be "show me how!"

Whether your goal for the new year is to lose weight, spend more time with family or get your finances in order it starts with  "show me how."

I truly believe the key to work life balance and happiness is never stop learning. I guarantee you will enjoy your work more and your home life more if you are regularly challenging yourself.

That means changing your mindset from "I don't know how to work the calendar on my smartphone" or "I don't know how to use convection setting on my oven" to "I want to learn, show me how!"

Remember to be patient with yourself and to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Opening yourself up to learning is a way to become more productive and maybe even to land a promotion. It can be a way of spending quality time with your spouse, child or friend. 

Today, I asked my son to show me the apps on his phone he thought I would find helpful. I watched as he downloaded them onto my phone and took notes as he taught me how to use them. I likely will need a refresher but for now, I'm off to a good start. 

I hope you will include my mantra on your work/life balance resolutions for 2013. Happy New Year!