Managing Transitions

Transitions happen throughout our life! It’s important to plan for them whenever possible by anticipating changes and preparing.

This week was a BIG transition for not only me, but for my entire family, including the dog! After running my International Coaching & Training company from my home-based office for nearly 15 years, I went back to work FULL-TIME in the corporate world. Although I will continue to serve my current clients I will selectively decide which future clients I will work with both as a speaker and a coach.

There were lots of ups and downs this week and key lessons both applied from my work and learned as a result of this huge transition! Here’s some of the key highlights.  Let me know what you learned from my personal experience…

  • previous Wednesday: got formal offer and request to start on Monday
  • weekend: stocked up on groceries, caught up on wash, cleaned and straightened the house, planned meals, purchased train ticket, researched parking, gased up car, went clothes shopping, met a friend pre-made kids’ lunches and refrigerated part of it overnight, took dog for an evening walk, prepared singles for parking meter, showered
  • Monday: ESTABLISHED NEW ROUTINE!! got up extra early, took dog for half the regular walk, fed him and ate my breakfast then finished kids’ lunches, got dressed while listening in to the news, applied makeup and fixed hair, got kids up, dropped off daughter at bus, trusted son would get to school on time (MISTAKE #1), went to work and met many new people and attended new hire orientation with about 8 others, panicked when I received a call from the school that my son was truant at 10:50, connected with husband and he handled it, ran to catch the 5:17 train home and battled with traffic from the train station to get home to a lovely dinner prepared by my husband, took dog for second half of walk, finished emails I didn’t finish on the train ride, showered, prepared sandwiches for next day, read through materials from work, was in bed by 9!!
  • TUESDAY: pretty much same routine but my daughter asked to walk up to the bus stop and I made sure my son was out of bed before I left the house and not just awake. Got to work a little early again! Grabbed a cup of cocoa at DD, met with team members and contributed my ideas at a meeting (which were well received!). Had sessions with scheduled coaching clients and did evening prep again
  • WEDNESDAY: same am routine and every seemed to work smoothly till I got to the train stop just a few minutes behind schedule. Did a load of wash before work! Brought my own lunch with me to save from having to go down to the cafeteria again. Through in a load of towels before walking the dog and put them in dryer when I returned. Nearly missed train as I folded bills to get them into the meter. (NOTE TO SELF: HAVE BILLS PRE-FOLDED AND READY TO GO!). Worked on learning new systems and getting acclimated at my new job. Hurried home to attend Grandma’s birthday celebration with the family.
  • THURSDAY: had a little trouble waking up because I got to sleep a little later last night. Brought my lunch with me again. Ended up getting the next train (which wasn’t an express) and got to work just 20 minutes later. (NOTE TO SELF: DON’T PANIC, THERE’S ANOTHER TRAIN EVERY 15 MINUTES OR SO; LEAVING EXTRA TIME HAS BEEN A BENEFIT BECAUSE I AM STILL THERE BEFORE 8:30). Hubby had to work late and daughter arranged a ride home from cheer practice beings son was working. Held scheduled coaching sessions in the evening, then completed evening routine.
  • FRIDAY: good morning, everything flowed smoothly! Got a lot of things accomplished at work and am running fairly smoothly. Enjoyed some lunch on the company and goodies left over from a training so I didn’t have to buy lunch. Took one train earlier and left a little more time to get down the elevator because I’ve been rushing to the train every day. Got home in time to meet husband and a friend to travel an hour to our daughter’s HS cheering at the FB game. Fortunately, lunch held me over and I wasn’t hungry for dinner. I’ve been stocking up on healthy snacks and water to keep in my office so I had plenty choices. Hit a deer on the way home from the game. Are you kidding….what a way to end my first week back on the corporate job! We’re ok but the car and the deer didn’t quite make it!
  • SATURDAY: Got to the gym for a good solid workout! Brought my daughter to cheer practice. Started cleaning and straightening. Did more wash. (WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM??)

So, I’m proud to say that I got through my week! Without my husband stepping up to prepare dinners and pick up what he saw I wasn’t able to get done, it would have been much more difficult. So, thank Goodness I have such a wonderful husband. I miss dinners with the family all together and miss communicating with each other more than anything.

Preparing, planning, organizing, communicating and staying calm were the big winners this week!!

Balance your Priorities

How much faster, busier, more hectic and  demanding can our lives possibly get?

These past two months have been especially challenging for me with numerous family issues and my own health concerns. Although I study life balance and help others through my teaching, speaking, writing and coaching I found myself bursting at the same seams I’ve helped others better handle. All of my techniques and strategies were in my tool box and once I took a deep breadth, re-focused, and took things more slowly I was able to manage day-to-day and see the rainbow at the end of all the rain that was pouring down in my life.

Living a balanced life  has become one of the biggest challenges in our  society.  However, as I’ve learned from my own experiences, until you get your thinking and actions aligned, you’ll naturally be out of balance. To be in balance, you need to align your life with your top priorities and live that way each and every day!

Your priorities come from your core — your personal values.  They define what is really most important to you. They help guide your decisions about where and how you will spend your time, money and energy.

If you want to live a balanced life, begin by defining your core values and key priorities.  Define what life balance means to you. 

A blanket answer will not resonate with every one of you. We will have different answers to what’s important to us and what life balance looks like for us. Life balance is a concept that has a different meaning for each of us. What’s a balanced lifestyle for one, might not be balanced for another.

The key to getting the right balance, is making time for what’s important to you.

Redesign the Job you Hate

Being unhappy at work can be very de-motivating and depressing, but with our current economy, where good jobs can be hard to find, quitting is often not an option. Rather than throwing in the towel, you can change the way you think about your work to make it more meaningful. Even subtle change can lead to significant workplace transformations. Use these remedies for job dissatisfaction to make the situation more pleasant. If you want more detailed explanations, follow this link to my full blog at Experis/Manpower Group.

1. Take on a positive outlook.

2. Rethink your current job.

3. Plan your day differently.

4. Alter your work environment.

5. Build relationships.

6. Reward yourself.

7. Take a lunch break.

8. Know your motivation for staying.

9. Have goals, dreams and aspirations.

10. Tap into company resources.

11. Seek professional help.

12. Look into transferring departments or locations.

Consider the alternatives before you make a decision to leave. Finding a new job isn’t always easy. If you can find ways to improve your current situations, it’s usually worth pursuing it. When all else fails, prepare for other employment by setting goals, gaining clarity around what you want and don’t want in your next position, updating your resume, reviving and building your network, and polishing your skills. By setting goals you identify a finish line, and by meeting the goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis you give yourself something to feel good about.

Savor the Long Days of Summer

Summer is coming!!!   With summer comes longer days, more outdoor activities and more opportunities to do things together with your family.  Now is the opportune time to put in a new habit of spending some quality time as a family after dinner to go for a walk, pedal through the neighborhood, do some extra reading, play ball, go out for ice cream, or whatever you and your family would enjoy doing together.  It takes about 21 days to get a new habit in place.  Once you’ve developed this time as a normal part of your daily routine, it will be easier to adapt your activities to other times of the year while still focusing on spending time together.

You could also take this opportunity to create some activities just for you, for you and your spouse, or together with a friend or neighbor.  Use this time consciously and create it to be what you want.  It would be helpful to have a handful of activities you enjoy.  Time is too easily frittered away when the effort is not taken to use it wisely.

Select things that are fun and enjoyable that you’ll look forward to doing.  Get in the rhythm of “being” the kind of person you want to be rather than being too SuperBusy to enjoy your life and loved ones!

Tips for Working from a Home-Based Office

The current issue of Treasure Coast Parenting features an article I wrote about the “Top 10 Tips for Working from a Home-Based Office” . Read this article on page 36-37 of the magazine to learn how you can be productive and effective when working at home.

Surviving Work Overload

These days I continually here about employees at every level of the organization who are overloaded with too much work.  This chronic problem is mostly a result of numerous workforce reductions and vacation schedules.  Many of us have experienced that dreadful sense of having far too much work to do and too little time to do it in. The option is to ignore it because you are “too busy” and to work unreasonably long hours just to stay on top of your workload. Unfortunately, the risk is that you may build up resentment, exhaustion and frustration that leads to poor quality work while you neglect other areas of your life and eventually experience intense levels of stress.

Some of the key signs that you or others may be overloaded include:

  • A boss with no real sense of your job
  • Increased sick leave
  • A sharp rise in complaints
    • Poor synergy with a team of co-workers
  • Conversation breakdowns
  • More consistently working longer hours and weekends
  • Increase in turnover
  • Increase in customer complaints
  • Inefficient meetings
  • Improper delegation of tasks
  • Constant interruptions & distractions
  • Too many emails, text messages, etc.
  • Feel totally out-of-control or overwhelmed
  • Employees complaining about work/life issues, limited career opportunities, or lack of skill development. If you colleagues are leaving in droves, find out why!

Work more intelligently by focusing on the things that are important for job success and reduce the time you spend on lower priority tasks.  I found a tool on line at the Mind Tools site, which can help you take the first step in looking at your work, Job Analysis. According to information on their site, job analysis is a key technique for managing job overload – an important source of stress.

Also, try out some of these simple, popular and often effective solutions to many of the problems frequently encountered in the work environment:

  • Proactively discuss with your boss the inefficiencies related to constant change and propose some realistic boundaries.
  • Establish boundaries around when you can and cannot be interrupted by employees or colleagues.
  • Turn on your phone only during designated hours or have your secretary impose a heavy filter on the incoming phone calls. If you are the secretary, keep conversations brief and get all necessary details during the first call.
  • Prioritize your e-mail and correspondence. Don’t leave the email indicator on unless it’s absolutely critical for your job.
  • Accept the possibility of a complete turn-about in your work as a result of uncertainties. Learn to reprioritize when change is necessary.
  • Only permit emergency calls at work from family, friends, and neighbors.

Prevent Burnout

In the latest issue of my FREE e-newsletter, I share practical and timely tips for helping you prevent and overcome burnout.  You can read and subscribe here:  Success Tips for Super Busy Parents – Tip #4 (vol. 12) Prevent Burnout. Or, just visit my website and subscribe in the ‘post-it’ on the upper righthand corner of the header.

Help for Managing your Full Plate

Your burgeoning work load—not to mention the rest of your life—means you have a very full plate. But managing the mountains on your full plate just got easier! You have all the utensils on hand to more effectively handle those competing demands and conflicting priorities!

Read more….

Anticipate Summer Childcare Needs

Sure, it’s only the beginning of spring, but if you haven’t started making plans for summer care for your children, vacation plans, and revised work schedules you may already be too late for some options.  Camp programs that are perceived as the best fill up fast.  Hot vacation spots quickly become booked and sold out.

Decide what type of childcare or camp you will need to for your children.  Younger children, of course, need more care and supervision, whereas, older kids want more activities and trips.  Some children are old enough to spend time alone (but do you really want your children unsupervised every day for large periods of time?)  Perhaps, you can arrange with a neighbor or friend to be available for your children and keep an eye on things.

Depending on their ages, a job at a camp, with a landscaper or other seasonal help may be perfect to keep them busy.  Your children would have the opportunity to earn money and you can breathe a sigh of relief because you know where they are, what they’re doing and whom they’re doing it with.

Parents who are home often welcome a mother’s helper (usually a 10-12 year old who is not quite old enough in most cases to babysit on their own).  Local businesses may offer internships or apprentice programs to help young teens learn about business.  In some cases, your employer may permit and welcome some extra help during the summer.

Summer camp programs are a viable option for your children.  There are several million children ranging from age 3 through 16 enrolled in summer camp each year. The programs are either a day camp or an overnight schedule. Camp programs are available for just about every interest and length of time.  Consider your child’s interests and you may be able to find a camp that offers programs specifically in his/her interest area.  In addition, in some areas there are summer enrichment programs offered either independently or through the local school system.  You may be able to use the summer as an opportunity to have your child catch up in a subject he/she is falling behind or take extra classes in an area of interest.

If you are interested in hiring a babysitter or nanny to watch your children during the summer, determine what your needs and requirement are first.  Seek out candidates through agencies, advertisements and referrals.  Interview each candidate and check references.  When you’ve selected the person you want to hire, train her (or him) yourself.  Be sure your caretaker understands your wants and needs and can adequately supervise your children.  Discuss your rules and restrictions and be sure your caretaker understands them.  Decide whether or not you will permit your caretaker to drive with your children in the car, where he/she is allowed to take your children, where your children may play in the neighborhood, and, if swimming will be permitted.

You must be confident in the care you arrange for your children so that you can concentrate at work without constant worry or interruption with their phone calls.  You cannot wait until last minute to plan for the summer.

Adjust Priorities

When emergencies or catastophes strike, cars break down, accidents occur, or health issues arise, priorities often shift on a dime. It could take just seconds to temporarily or permanently change your entire life.

As your time and attention changes to more pressing matters, what do you do with whatever is still left on your plate? How do you continue tending to the important when the urgent is so compelling?

Reflecting on the recent tragedies in the world, including the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the major flooding, the bus accident on Route 95 in New York and other such events across the globe I wonder how people cope.  Although I had no one personally from my family, friends or professional colleagues in the World Trade Center when the tragedy of 9-1-1 occured, we were fixated with the events. Those like me, in the peripheral, went on with our lives and work and continued to focus on other priorities.

However, when it affects you personally, you may be immobilized and fixated on the necessary actions although other priorities continue to exist in your life.  Balancing your other needs and those of your loved ones is likely a challenge. For those who have lived through a death of a loved one, accident, sudden emergency, natural disaster big or small….how did you cope? What are some suggestions you have for others who may now be going through similar experiences?

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