Addicted to Email

I have a friend who jokes there are always three people in her bed: herself, her husband, and her Blackberry.  I was in California last week on vacation with my family and witnessed people typing away on their Blackberries while at Disneyland, with their children tugging at their pants legs, asking to go see Cinderella.  I was presenting a seminar yesterday, and one participant kept looking up to say, "Would you repeat that"? not because I wasn't clear, but because she wasn't paying attention to me---you got it---checking her email during class.  Examples abound but the bottom line is Americans are addicted to email.  Slaves to the Send/Receive button, countless workers sit at their desks, waiting for the next Desktop Alert, beep, cursor change, envelope in … [Read more...]

How to Look Like a Workaholic in a 40-Hour Workweek

How to Look Like a Workaholic in a 40-Hour Workweek

In a perfect world, we would be judged solely on our results, regardless of what others thought about how or when we got our work done. The good news is that this type of “results only” mentality is catching on. Some companies and managers are beginning to realize that there are better ways to manage performance than by counting hours at the office. Organizations are responding to the changing needs of workers everywhere by offering arrangements such as flex-time and telecommuting. The bad news is that, like it or not, corporate mentality is what it is. The 40-hour week is not just an expectation; it’s the minimum, especially for salaried professionals. Self-proclaimed workaholics advertise their twelve hour days like a badge of honor and wouldn’t be caught dead leaving the office … [Read more...]

Finishing what you start

My 4th of July gift for you: I received this from a friend who knows how much I preach about finishing what you start: "During these crazy days when we're going one hundred miles per hour and stress levels are soaring, I had to stop and tell myself that Laura Stack told me I need some inner peace.  I discovered that the way to achieve it is to finish all of the things I have started.  I looked around my house to see things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning I finished off a bottle of merlot, a bottle of white zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey’s, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a package of Oreos, the remainder of both my Prozac and Valium prescriptions, the rest of the cheesecake, some saltine crackers, and a half box of chocolates. You have … [Read more...]

American Time Use Survey 2006: no wonder women are so tired!

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of its annual American Time Use Survey for 2006 on June 28, 2007, which is actually conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.  You can sift through all the data files and accompanying documentation, but let me save you some time and summarize some interesting results. Of full-time workers, men work 8.4 hours a day on average, while women work 7.7.  But 52 percent of women cleaned each day, while only 20 percent of men clean each day.  65 percent of women cook each day and only 37 percent of men.  Men average 5.7 hours of leisure a day, and women average 4.9 hours.  Women spend 1.2 hours a day caring for children, while men spend .4 hours.  Men spent more time watching television and participating in … [Read more...]

Reduce the noise

Feeling overwhelmed?  Try this little experiment---turn off your computer volume. Your psyche is constantly bombarded with all the little clicks and dings your computer makes when it performs the smallest operation—simply decide you don’t need it!  You only need the volume turned up if you’re watching a file with sound, such as a video.  You will be completely amazed at how much more calmness you exude and how much peace of mind you feel if you try this!  Encourage your co-workers to turn off their computer volume as well, to minimize the overall background noise in your office.  This is especially helpful if you work in an open-space office with several cubicles.  To further reduce noise in your life, trying driving with your radio off.  You don’t have … [Read more...]

Gartner: The 40-Hour Workweek Era Is Ending

Here we go again: another report showing us how much technology is going to save us time and reduce the American workweek.  Didn't we hear this 20 years ago?  How we would all have so much extra time on our hands due to technological improvements?  That's just like the "paperless office," which of course is a joke, since we generate much more paper now than before the advent of the computer.  A Gartner research report released on May 30 says that by 2015, workers will be working 20 hours instead of 40.  It argues that workers are seeking a more fulfilling life balance and employers better catch on if they want to retain good employees.  They sort of forget to consider that many people consider working an ecomomic reality and can't afford to drop … [Read more...]

Save hours of time every day: Stop watching so much television!

One primary television-watching energy drain is late night shows.  Given our hectic schedules with running in the door to make dinner, running out the door to take the kids to soccer practice, and then running home to finally get the kids in bed, we literally have no time left for ourselves.  We quite reasonably crave a little relaxation time, but all we have the energy to do is plop on the couch and turn on the tube.  We tell ourselves, “I’ll only watch for 15 minutes, then go to bed.”  But those alpha waves start humming, and Letterman is downright hilarious, and before you know it, 15 minutes have turned into two hours.  So you get to bed by 12:30 a.m., and you have to wake up at 6 a.m.  This pattern serves you a triple wallop. First, you’re going to … [Read more...]

What color scheme is best for personal productivity: decorating your office for productivity

Investigate the link between color and worker productivity, and you'll keep coming across the name of Dr. Nancy Kwallek, Director of the Interior Design program at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture. In a recent study, she had workers do mundane clerical tasks in offices with several different color schemes and discovered that white is absolutely the worst color for productivity—at first. After being exposed to an all-white environment for a while, most workers adjusted just fine. For those who could screen out their environment from the beginning, however, bright colors were more effective, since they seem to stimulate people in general. Those more easily distracted by the environment did better in rooms painted a cooler color, like blue-green. Ultimately, however, … [Read more...]

Best Practices of the Resident Social, Child, and Family Coordinators

Best Practices of the Resident Social, Child, and Family Coordinators

I’d love to hear from the men on this one, but at least in my circle, why does it seem that the woman is the social coordinator in the family? I’m not kidding when I say my husband wouldn’t have any friends if it weren’t for me. We wouldn’t have any couple friends, either. I’ve tried to sit back and see if John would reach out to our couple friends to schedule a get-together. But even when he and the man in the couple are close, no dice. He’s perfectly willing to be told, “We have a dinner date tonight” and go with the flow. Kind of makes me crazy, but I do get to see who I want, when I want, so I’m not exactly complaining. BUT being social coordinator does put an extra responsibility onto my already-full plate. Here are a few ways I handle these responsibilities that might be … [Read more...]

Find More Time to Socialize: 8 Time-Savers for a Better Social Life

Here's a great article in Fitness on how to make time for your friends and family without getting overscheduled.  Oh, wait!  I'm quoted in it.  :-)  Enjoy! … [Read more...]