Viewing category ‘time management’

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Parenting against type

Categories: time management, working from home

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My husband is a spontaneous, adaptable good sport who shines under pressure and thrives on improvisation. And since every yin must have its yang (or is he the yang and I’m the yin?), I’m his other half, the one who depends on structure and consistency and all the pieces of my life fitting together just so or else THE WORLD IS ENDING AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIIIIIIIE. For the most part we’ve found a way to make this work in our relationship, but unfortunately we don’t always get along with our jobs as well as we do with each other: He works regular hours in a building across town, and I work eight a.m. to whenever, and wherever, depending on what day it is and who needs me. I’m the one on call for sick days and holidays, I’m the one playing chauffeur, and I’m the one working late into the night because my nine-to-five was interrupted at 10:30 by a toddler spouting volcanos of vomit all over daycare.
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What’s your end-of-the-workday ritual?

Categories: time management, working from home

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You know the saying “I’m working for the weeked?” I think it stops being true the second you have kids. Kids seem to be of the collective mind that oh-hell-no o’clock is the perfect time to wake up EVERY DAY, and none of them have even heard of Loverboy. What this means for me is that most of the time I’m not working for the weekend but working for the end of the workday; forget spending several days apart from my job, I’m excited for those several hours each night, when I might have some peace and quiet and time for myself at last before it all begins again in the morning.

Because I mostly work from home, defining the end of my workday is both harder and more important, and a lot of the time I don’t manage to do it very well. On thing I think might remedy that is having a consistent after-work ritual to help me shift the gears from workbrain to homebrain. I have some ideas, but I’m also taking suggestions. 
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Becoming the working mom stereotype

Categories: time management

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Working moms sometimes get a bad rap. Other (mostly non-parent) coworkers complain that we get special treatment, that we aren’t as committed to our jobs, that we’re distracted, forgetful, and off our professional game since having kids. So what do we do? We buckle down, try harder, log extra time at night to make up for the hours we missed due to sick babies and/or piano recitals. We try to not just meet deadlines but beat them. In trying to prove that things haven’t changed now that we’re mothers, we try to be model employees in every way we can—attend every meeting, meet every goal, at least attempt to wear clothing not smeared with pureed mystery meat. But then…? The baby gets sick for the fourth time that month and peewee baseball camp gets moved from Thursday evenings to Wednesday afternoons and priorities shift and reshift and deadlines slip and before you know it half your business emails start with the words “I’m sorry.”

 

Man but it sucks when stereotypes ring true.
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Finding family time when you can

Categories: time management

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A million and one studies have shown that families who eat dinner together–as in sit down, on chairs, at a table, with no t.v. blaring in the background–not only stay together [longer] but are closer, more communicative, more connected. The kids do better in school, the parents are less stressed out…heck, even the dog has learned how to retrieve Mom’s slippers without ventilating the toes. It’s as if eating together means feeding the family from an enchanted pot of magic beans. Got problems? Have dinner and poof! they disappear!
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The best advice I ever got

Categories: child care, maternity leave, the home office, time management, working from home

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While I was pregnant (and even before), I read a lot about the experiences of pregnant working women and, in particular, how they handled the Big Question: whether to continue working, either inside or outside the home, after the baby was born, and if so, in what capacity. Following maternity leave–six weeks? sixteen weeks? a whole year? however long it takes to pull your pants up and log in to your email account?–what were the experiences of women who went back to work full-time immediately, eased back into 40-hour weeks gradually, switched to part-time permanently, switched careers entirely, started working from home exclusively, or became stay-at-home moms, either putting their jobs on hold temporarily or giving them up completely? An analyst by nature, I knew that if a “right” answer was out there, I’d be able to find it, by golly.
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Part-time employee = part-time mom?

Categories: time management, working from home

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I never thought I’d become one of those women whose priorities so obviously shifted once I became a mother. Of course I’d want my family to think they were my top priority (because they are), but I also thought I could make my bosses and coworkers feel like work was my top priority, even if common sense told them it couldn’t possibly be. I just thought that in the best of all possible worlds I could be everything to everyone—the best mom, the best employee—and no one would feel like they were getting the short end of the me stick (except maybe myself, but oh, isn’t martyrdom the curse of the modern mommy?).


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How do you streamline your time online?

Categories: time management

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A familiar scene at our house: I tell my spouse that I have to go check my email real quick-like, and then before I know it it’s forty-five minutes later and he’s standing in the doorway with a red-eyed baby and a cartoon exclamation point quivering in the air above his head. It’s obvious what I’ve been doing: I start with Very Important Work Email and then, inevitably, I take that one itty-bitty sidestep over to personal email and then, what the heck, it’s blog emails and blog comments and Flickr, and then, whee!, it’s a full-force backslide into YouTube and iPhoto and iMovie and iTunes. Down the Internet rabbit-hole. iCarumba.
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Do you work harder now that you have kids?

Categories: time management, working from home

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I spent last Saturday in my sweltering home office racing to complete an assignment I told my supervisor I’d have done on Monday, no excuses. Because I only work half-time now, it takes me twice as long to complete my projects, but because I never want to be the weak link in the company chain, I’m always agreeing to impossible deadlines and then kicking myself later as I try to steal an extra hour or two (or eight) from my so-called free time (so-called because that’s what I’m working for: free). 

Parents (and mothers especially) often find themselves the subject of extra criticism in the workplace–we don’t take our jobs seriously anymore, we receive special treatment, we suffer from mommybrain–and perhaps it’s those judgements at the heart of my situation: I’m working longer, harder, better now because I’m forever trying to prove that I’m not the weakest link, that motherhood hasn’t compromised my work ethic.  


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Does having a second kid destroy your “grown-up” social life?

Categories: child care, time management

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Photo by <a href=It’s way too early for me to be thinking about this for my own personal use*, but I have some questions about having a second kid.


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Do You Let Your Home Life Affect Your Home Office?

Categories: the home office, time management, working from home

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Last week was my first day back at work, and for all the nerve-steeling and tearduct-sandbagging I’d done in preparation for this next big step in my mothering life, I’m suprised and relieved to report that it wasn’t that bad at all. Awkward (but not impossible!) pumping process aside, it was actually downright great to be back among the grownups. Great to shower and do my hair and brush my teeth and drive into town with a hot mug of tea, knowing I’d be able to finish it while it was still warm. Glorious! Even though going back to work would mean stepping back into a position of myriad serious responsibilities, I was thrilled to know that at least none of those responsibilities would leak on me. When I got home from the office that first evening, it was with an invigorated spirit and a clean shirt; I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It wasn’t until my second day of work that things started to get complicated…
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