Viewing category ‘Working? Living?’

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Burnout? Or depression?

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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Summer has never equaled downtime for me, not since I was a teenager (and, given that I was working at my mom’s restaurant by the time I was 12, maybe not even then). This year, for the first time in a decade, my stepkids didn’t spend the summer with us (teenagers!), but while I missed them a lot, my summer schedule wasn’t any less hectic for their absence.
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I’ve totally fallen into the work-at-home trap

Categories: Career, Making Time, The Juggle, Uncategorized, Working? Living?

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Most of the time, I work from my home office, a little yellow room filled with a cluttered desk and stacks of books and product samples. But this week, I was in New York City, where most of my team is based. I had a series of meetings to attend and people to meet, and most of my usual workload to finish.

It made for a long and hectic day, but what really struck me wasn’t just the 400-plus-mile round-trip commute or the working printers or the free coffee. It wasn’t just the face-to-face conversations with the actual people I work with, to whom I talk at least twice a day, every day, even when I’m in my home office. It wasn’t just the make-up and nail polish I put on or the fact that I was wearing a suit instead of looking like the insomniac workaholic that I am.

The oddest thing was the way that I packed up my computer, gathered up my stuff, and left the office at the end of the day.
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Controlling my inner insomniac workaholic

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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The other morning, I was caught up in creating costumes for dress-up day at my kids’ camp, and we were running late. I threw a jumble of (healthy! nutritious! lovingly prepared!) stuff into their lunch boxes, nagged them to finish eating breakfast, and finally grabbed their backpacks, tennis rackets, swim suits, towels, and herded them into the car. Then I went back for the costumes, and then for my wallet, and then we left for camp.

(This is not a post about the importance of organization or how to streamline your mornings by preparing the night before. Obviously.)
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Tips for dealing with customer service

Categories: Hacking Life, Uncategorized, Working? Living?

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I always look over my bills when they arrive, keeping an eye out for bizarre charges or extra fees. That means that, over the years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the phone with customer service representatives, asking for explanations or requesting refunds.

Here are a few tips to consider if you’re about to make a call:
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Fake cleaning is my latest lifesaver

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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I was wiped out and still working on deadline when my parents-in-law, whom I love dearly, called to say that they were about two hours away.

They were driving up from Florida to stay with us for a couple of weeks. I had seven loads of (thankfully, clean) laundry in my bedroom, a spare bedroom full of bags and boxes designated for the attic, and carpets so full of fur from my rapidly shedding dog that I considered scraping it all into a pile and telling the kids we had a new pet.

It was time for extreme measures. And my favorite extreme measure, in cases like this, is what I call “fake cleaning.” Here are five ways you can whip the house into some semblance of order—as long as your guests love you (and don’t look too closely):
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What do you wish you had learned earlier in life?

Categories: Hacking Life, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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Every year, I make my New Year’s Resolutions on my birthday. And today’s the day, folks. But this year, I’m crossing one of those resolutions off my list before the day even begins. This year, instead of simply sharing with you the things I’d really like to do in the next 365 days or my plans for self-improvement, I’m asking you to please share your wisdom: What do you wish you had learned earlier in life?
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Coping with end-of-the-school-year clutter

Categories: Hacking Life, Parenting, Uncategorized, Working? Living?

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School is out in my town, and on her last day of Kindergarten my girl had a backpack full of precious papers. Not just her own drawings and worksheets and notebooks, but stuff her entire class had created together: Wall-size poems with six-inch-tall letters, spiral-bound storybooks illustrated by everyone. It’s a genius way to declutter the classroom at the end of the year, I grant you that. But as she proudly pulled paper after laminated paper out of her backpack, I began to wonder: What am I supposed to do with all this stuff?

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Do your kids think you work too much?

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, Parenting, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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My daughter was humming a tune that sounded a lot like “Bingo” while she was drawing the other day. When I scooted closer to her on the couch to get a peek at what she was doing, I heard that she had made up new words to go along with the song:

There was a girl who worked a lot
and Lylah was her name-o
L-Y-L-A-H, L-Y-L-A-H, L-Y-L-A-H
and Lylah was her name-o!

The drawing was actually an illustrated guide to the song’s new lyrics (spelled phonetically, of course—she’s only in kindergarten). I thought I was doing a pretty good job of getting out of work mode and morphing into Mama mode during the window between school pick-up and bedtime. But apparently not.
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How do you unwind at the end of the day?

Categories: Hacking Life, Working? Living?

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When my big kids were little and my little kids were not yet born, I used to warn that if I was in the bathroom with the door locked, no one was allowed to come in unless someone was bleeding. I was only partially kidding—emergencies involving things other than blood would have warranted entry, I guess.

Nowadays, I feel like I’m always working, or thinking about working, or wondering if I should be working. It’s not a healthy way to be for long stretches of time, but I just can’t seem to unwind.

So I’m keeping this post super-short and asking you for ideas. How do you unwind — not in terms of “me time,” necessarily, but just at the end of a regular work day?

Glass of wine? Long bath? Yoga? Prayer? Cooking? First-person shooter games on the Xbox? Going for a run?

What works for you?

How well do you rebound from stress?

Categories: Hacking Life, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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You’ve heard about amazing centenarians who swear that they reached their 100th birthday thanks to their good genes. Or clean living. Or selectively dirty living. Or the glass of wine a day that killed the germs. Or the weekly cigar that did the same. Or the strict exercise regimen that kept them running until their grandkids had kids of their own.

But researchers say there may be another reason: They live longer because they learned how to not just manage stress, but rebound from it.

There’s a direct link between psychological stress and biological aging, says Thea Singer in her new book, “Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind.” And that link goes all the way down to our cells.

In a groundbreaking study, 2009 Nobel Prize-winning cell biologist Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., and health psychologist Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., both at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that that chronic stress “literally gnaws at our DNA—its tips, or telomeres, to be precise—speeding up the rate at
which our cells age.” In fact, Singer says, “Women who perceived themselves as being under the most stress had telomeres that were shorter by equivalent of 10 years.”
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