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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

I may have found a cure for the “I’ll get around to it” pile

Categories: Uncategorized, balance

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I was going to call this article “The cure for procrastination”, but I’m not exactly sure that it’s procrastination I’m addressing.

I’m not talking about things I’m avoiding doing, per say.  I’m talking about the things I’m just forgetting to do.  You know the ones.

The email that needs a response at some point but not right now and so you leave it marked as read in your inbox to answer when you’re finished with all the crucial projects of the day.  The one that you find, marked read in your inbox, three months later.

The box of clothes sitting by your bedroom door that you’re going to go through and take to the dry cleaner or the tailor or the local thrift shop after work someday, or maybe this weekend.  The one that you’ve been tripping over every morning for so long that your husband thinks it’s part of your decorating style.

The mail you’re going to sort, the desk you’re going to clean, the friend you’re going to call back, the dress you’re going to return and the eye doctor appointment you’re going to make.


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Can you share one good thing today?

Categories: Uncategorized, balance, office life

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Last year was, to put it bluntly, spectacularly awful for me.  While 2010 hasn’t been perfect,  I’ve found myself in a good place more often than not.  Thousands of dollars in counseling and therapy can do that for a person, I guess.

As a lifestyle blogger, I chronicled a good portion of the suckage that was 2009 and I was very fortunate to receive a ton of support from the Internet.  However, as life has improved over the past several months, I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern: I have less to say and less desire to say it when I’m happy.

Bad news, it seems, is easier to share than good news.

A mental scan of conversations with other people reveals that this is a common phenomenon that goes beyond blogging.  My phone conversations with my mother are much longer if I’ve had a bad day.  My chats with co-workers are brief when they’re upbeat. When I worked in a corporate office environment, work could not begin until everyone shared at least one complaint.  It was very rare for someone to come to a morning meeting with a smile on their face and cheerful reports.  And the one guy that did?  Was annoying.  To everyone.


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Creating new habits (or ditching old ones)

Categories: Uncategorized, balance

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Over the last few months, I have created two new habits and broken one old one.  I changed the way I eat, started exercising 6 days a week, and quit smoking.  As you can imagine, it’s been a busy 3 months filled with mental and emotional gymnastics.

It’s also been extremely rewarding.  Aside from the obvious physical effects of not smoking and getting my body into better shape, it’s been empowering to realize that I can look at my life and say, “I want it this way” and then make it so.  I find that I’m less overwhelmed by things I can’t get done and less easily discouraged by things that aren’t going my way.  The difference, I believe, is that I now know that I can make whatever changes are necessary whenever I decided to set my mind to it.  I’m not controlled by my circumstances or - most importantly - my habits.

Dictionary.com defines a habit as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”.  There is a lot of power in being able to pick and choose which habits you’ll have in your life, especially because of that “almost involuntary” part.  But how do you change something that you’re not really thinking about?


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My new favorite productivity tool

Categories: Uncategorized, office life

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I have a tendency to take on more work than I should.  I never miss a deadline, but I often come close.  It’s not unusual for me to have to work on the occasional week night or Saturday morning, all the while wondering why I agreed to take on yet another project when my plate was already full.  I probably need to learn to say no a little more often.

But I also need to spend less of my workday on Twitter.

It wasn’t easy for me to admit to myself that I wasn’t being as productive as I could.  More than that, it was embarrassing to realize how irresponsible I was being with my time.


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Where do you get your best ideas?

Categories: Uncategorized, office life

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Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the most effective ways to quickly change the tone of a conversation is to utter the phrase, “So I was thinking about you in the shower this morning…”

Especially if you say it during a business meeting.

Of course, very shortly after saying that - especially during a business meeting - I find myself needing to also say “no, not like that” before going on to share my latest and greatest brilliant idea.

I’ve gotten some of my best ideas in the shower.  I’ve written entire books while shaving my legs and completely redesigned a marketing strategy while conditioning my hair.  I also get great ideas when I’m driving.  A 20 minute commute is often far more productive than a conference call brainstorming session.


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Giving constructive feedback at work.

Categories: Uncategorized, office life

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Most people don’t like to complain at work.

No.  Wait.  That’s not right.  Most people don’t want to get caught complaining or be known as complainers.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop us from having grievances about our workload or our bosses or our company’s policies - but it may prevent us from giving our employers valuable feedback.

Have you seen the TV show Undercover Boss?  The premise is basically that top level executives at large companies go “undercover” as entry level workers within their own companies.  The goal is to get a better idea of how the company is really running.  Hilarity and heartwarming revelations ensue.


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Following instructions: do you need to know why?

Categories: Uncategorized, office life

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I’m having a hard time following the rules at work lately.

In my defense, the rules have changed, and I have yet to figure out exactly why, or what the new rules are.  Come to find out?  Having a good understanding of “the rules” - or what’s expected of me - is closely linked to how well I’m able to comply.

It’s not that I don’t like to be told what to do.  (I mean, OK, I don’t like it, but I can handle it - especially for a paycheck.)  And I don’t expect to agree with every decision my superiors make.

I just want to know why.

I remember, in the past, being told that a new set of paperwork would be required for all employees.  It was a new system from what we were used to, and surely upper management was going through the trouble of training us on a new way of doing things for a reason.  But when my colleagues and I asked what that reason was, we were simply told “because that’s what corporate wants us to do”.

I never did end up getting the hang of that new system, and my questions remained unanswered when I left that company several months later.  I didn’t leave because of paperwork, but feeling like I was expending a lot of energy on meaningless tasks for no good reason certainly didn’t add to my job satisfaction.


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Do you know when to ask for help? I don’t.

Categories: Uncategorized, balance

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Over the weekend, I wrote an entire post in my head about learning to ask for help at work.  You see, the past few weeks have been really, really tough for me, personally.  We’ve had some family drama - or maybe trauma is the better word - and my work has suffered tremendously because of it.

Did I say suffered?  I meant not gotten done at all.

For the first time in my life, I’ve completely blown deadlines.  I’ve come close before.  I’ve burned the midnight oil and fed my children Cheerios for dinner, but I’ve never actually missed a deadline until this month.  And this month I missed several of them.

Of course, since no man (or woman) is an island, when I miss a deadline, someone else’s work is affected.  An editor is left with no time to edit, a client is left explaining to their client why they can’t deliver a product.  The crap rolls down (or up) hill, as they say.


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