Archive for January, 2013

Plan Healthy Meal TWEAKS: Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O’Clock Scramble

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We can all relate: It’s been a long day, or maybe even a long busy week. You are tired. You haven’t planned your meals. You don’t have food in the house. So, you order a pizza, or grab a hamburger and fries at the drive thru.

What if it didn’t have to be that way? I discovered Aviva Goldfarb’s Six O’Clock Scramble while researching experts to interview for TWEAK IT, and quickly became a big fan of The Scramble’s philosophy and simple, delicious meals.

As I share in TWEAK IT, healthy meals are particularly hard for me because I absolutely do not like to cook.

But, with a hungry husband and two busy, growing teenagers, I had to figure it out.  We always muddled along, but The Six O’Clock Scramble has made it all so much easier.  

Check out Aviva’s “Bonus Tweak” advice on the TWEAK IT Together site.  

Recently, Aviva Goldfarb and I talked about:

  • Why it’s important to make healthy meals part of your busy everyday work+life fit?
  • What are the most common roadblocks she sees?
  • What’s one, simple get-started tip, and
  • What’s one small, meaningful action in her work+life fit?

Aviva told me she focuses more on helping women because they tend to feel more guilt and pressure about providing healthy meals for their families. Men tend to not worry about it as much; however, guys, you will find Aviva’s insights and The Six O’Clock Scramble helpful too. Enjoy!  

Also, there is still one day left to participate in The Scramble Challenge...deadline January 31st.

Leaders: You Don’t Have to Crash, Burn and Take Everyone Down with You

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Leaders at burning out too young, too fast, and they don’t have to.

(Thank you to Deborah Mills-Scofield for inviting me to share this post on her Innovanomics blog)

A couple of years ago, Sharon’s financial research team moved to another bank. It was a difficult and stressful period. Everyone logged long hours and frequent business trips across multiple time zones.

They did it because what mattered most, at the time, was that their team stayed together and made the transition a success. But now, as Sharon explained when I met with her recently, “The leadership team is literally falling apart and we are only in our mid 40’s.”

“My two direct reports, who have been with me for over ten years, are having the most trouble. One has migraine headaches that are so severe that, once or twice a week, he’s either late or doesn’t come in at all. The other is in the midst of a messy and distracting divorce.”

She continued, “I am trying to be patient. I don’t want to let either of them go. I’ve already lost too many valuable people. We have been through a lot together and they help me run the business. I’ve tried to give them the work flexibility they need to deal with their issues. I am hopeful, but I need a life too.”

“I can’t help but wonder what we could have done differently. At the time, it seemed as if we had no choice but to give everything we had to work. Looking back, the pace was unsustainable. We are all paying the price now. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the alternative would have been. ” Then she stopped and looked at me, “Was there an alternative?”

Sadly, Sharon and her team are not alone. Leaders in today’s competitive, 24/7, global economy easily fall into an “all work, all the time” trap. It may seem to make perfect sense at the time. But, ultimately, it undermines the very career longevity and success they are trying to achieve, personally and for their team.

The “all work, all the time” behavior of leaders sets the tone for the rest of the workplace. It makes it difficult for others to confidently take the lead and manage their responsibilities on and off the job.

I explained to Sharon that small shifts in how the team approaches work and life will help them recover from and avoid the trap in the future.

In my new book, TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Every Day (Center Street/Hachette) I share how to build a solid foundation of everyday well-being and order in the face constantly competing demands. The steps include:

Take deliberate action in the areas that sustain your health, personal relationships, career networks, job skills and life maintenance, or they won’t happen. Fifteen years ago, before mobile phones and the Internet, you could put in a 10-hour workday, go home and focus uninterrupted on other parts of your life. No more. You need to put up the boundaries. My research shows that most of us still haven’t quite grasped this fact.

Openly encourage work+life “fit,” not balance. Say the words “work-life balance” and leaders immediately laugh, roll their eyes and throw up their hands like they’ve heard the most ridiculous joke. In their minds, a 50-50 split between work and life is never going to happen. So why bother.

But work+life “fit” is not only possible. It is a must. It’s about finding the fit between your work and life based on your current realities on and off the job. If there’s a lot of work right now, fine. In that context, what could you do to get some sleep, eat healthfully, move your body, connect with your loved ones or whatever you need to do to be fresh and your best? That’s your fit.

Follow the simple, weekly TWEAK IT practice. It helps you harness the power small, deliberate actions, or “tweaks,” that makes a big difference. Look at your work and personal “to do s” for the week. What’s missing? What do you want more of, and less of? What do you want to continue? Write the small actions in the areas that matter to you right now on your calendar and priority list. Get to bed early one night. Have dinner with your partner and don’t check your phone. Attend a class to learn a new skill, or plan a long weekend away. It doesn’t take much, but over time, these moments add up.

Communicate with, collaborate with and cover for each other so that what matters at work and in life gets done, flexibly and creatively. For example, after the team returns from a business trip, take turns working from home one day. Instead of commuting that day, pay your bills. Walk your dog. Catch your breath. This coordination is especially important in businesses with global clients. Create a time zone coverage schedule so everyone gets periodic breaks from late night calls and emails.

Don’t seek perfection. If you achieve 70% of the small actions that matter to you, it’s better than 0%. You may miss lunch with a friend because of an important work call, but the point is that you made a conscious choice. You deliberately, and intentionally chose whether or not you will take that call or miss that lunch. Rather than having it not happen by default.

If Sharon and her team follow these steps, they won’t fall into the “all work, all the time” trap again and would still get the job done. In our highly mobile, always on, 24-7 society, business success must include career sustainability. We create it together one small, deliberate, imperfect “tweak” at a time.

What small actions matter the most in your everyday work+life fit?

To take the lead and start managing your everyday work+life fit, read TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day. Track your “tweaks of the week” on your mobile device with the “My Tweaks” tracker on the site.


My “Tweaks of the Week”: Celebrating 56% Success Last Week! What?

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Wow! What a week. Lots of great work opportunities and I still got 56% of my tweaks for the week done…and even a couple more I hadn’t planned.  56%?  Why am I celebrating?  We’ll get to that in a minute.  But first…

Your Favorite Tweaks

Again, I love it when you share the favorite small actions that mean a lot in your busy everyday work+life fit.  Here are a couple of great ones from last week:

  • On days that are too packed for a run, I make one meeting a walking meeting. I just walked 1.5 miles at a healthy pace while ironing out the details for a new project via phone. (Thank you Becky Robinson!)
  • I just slow down and breathe.
  • I actually met my friends for drinks after work. Usually, someone starts the cancellation chain with “I can’t make it,” but this time we all made it and we had a great time.

How Did I Do Last Week? 56%…Yeah!

Originally, I had carved out chunks of time last week to write, write, write, but when the opportunity to appear, in the studio on Huffington Post Live popped up, I grabbed it!  It was terrific, but essentially took up all of Thursday.

Not only did I not write as much as I had intended, but a number of the tweaks I had scheduled (research Chicago trip, call insurance agent and load financial links)  didn’t happen, as I reordered my calendar.

BUT I am still celebrating even though, according to the “My Tweaks” online tracker, I only completed 56% of my tweaks for last week because I grabbed some wonderful work opportunities but was still able to:

  • Have lunch with my friend who was looking for a job
  • Move my body four times last week
  • Meditate and write in my journal
  • Shop for and plan our meals on Sunday, and
  • Catch 10 minutes (in smaller 5 minute chunks sometimes) with my husband and kids.
And there was also a bonus unplanned tweak. We went out to dinner with friends and went to a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser to raise money for Union Beach, NJ.
Not bad.  Despite last minute work opportunities, I managed to make quite a few things that mattered to me happen, personally and professionally.  Yeah for 56%!!


My Tweaks for the Coming Week

So far, this week looks pretty quiet on the Western front but you never know!

I’ve added a Standard Tweak to my official list–Watch Downtown Abbey with my 12 year old.  It’s on for the next few weeks and we love it.  So it’s a date set in stone.


For my Unique Tweaks the Week, I am going to give the trip planning, insurance call and personal financial links another try.

What About You?  What small actions and priorities that matter to you will you make happen this week in your work+life fit?

Be sure to check out, link, follow the:

Don’t Let Lost Keys Throw Off Your Day–TWEAK IT “Get Organized” Expert: Lorie Marrero of The Clutter Diet

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Over the two decades I’ve helped individuals flexibly manage their work+life fit, I’ve heard more stories of people losing precious time, money and energy because they were disorganized:

  • Lost keys or wallet makes them late for an important meeting.
  • A misplaced school form causes their child to miss an important school deadline.
  • You wake up in the morning only to realize you have no clean socks.

All of these moments, that may seem insignificant, add up over time and add unnecessary stress, on and off the job.

The good news is you CAN take simple, small steps to get more organized as part of your busy everyday work+life fit.

To help you, I interviewed my go-to, get-organized expert resource, Lorie Marrero, founder of The Clutter Diet for TWEAK IT (check out her “bonus tweak” advice on the TWEAK IT Together site).

In this short, but sweet,  TWEAK IT Expert Interview, you will see why I became friends with Lorie (she’s great!) and how accessible and realistic her advice is!  Enjoy.


My “Tweaks of the Week”: Friends, Travel, Doctors (Try Again) and Personal Finance

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I posted my “tweaks of the week” for January 21st a little late because, after trying to avoid it, I caught the bug that my daughter had earlier. Something is definitely going around. Stay well!

My favorite tweaks you shared this week

One of the best parts of sharing the TWEAK IT message is when you to tell me the small actions that mean the most in your everyday work+life fit. Here are three of my favorites from this week:

“I set the timer for 30 minutes every Sunday. And for those 30 minutes I cleaned my garage. It took a few weeks to finish. I was so inspired I had them put in the nice garage floor. Every morning it feels so good to go out to my car. I’m now going to tackle my home office!”

“I am an emergency room nurse, and every day we try to laugh at least once. You can really feel the difference when we forget.”

“I love to drop my daughters off at school in the morning.”

Keep sharing your tweaks in the comments of this post, on Facebook, Twitter (#TWEAKIT), Pinterest, or Google+!

How did I do with my “tweaks for the week” of January 14th? According to the “My Tweaks” tracker on the mobile-friendly site, I completed 73% of my tweaks. Yeah! That’s great considering how busy I was with work and I got sick!

I didn’t make the doctors appointments for everyone or call my insurance agent, because on Friday afternoon when I had planned on completing those two tweaks, the bug hit and I was down for the count.

Looking to the next seven days, my standard tweaks remain the same:



My unique tweaks for this week focus on friends, travel, doctors (again) and more personal finances. I am going to:

  • Have lunch with a friend who is looking for a new job.
  • Research a possible trip for my family to meet me in Chicago for the weekend after I present at a conference.
  • Make the doctor and dentist appointments I missed last Friday when I got sick.
  • Now that we’ve chosen our personal finance app, I am going to load in the accounts.
I added my standard and unique tweaks of the week to my calendar and priority list.  I’m ready to just TWEAK IT and make what matters to me this week happen!
What about you?  What are your tweaks for the week of January 21st?

TWEAK IT Expert Video: Marci Alboher–How to Make an Encore Career Search Part of Your Everyday Work+Life Fit

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Every week, we will share a short, but sweet, video interview with one of the personal life and career experts featured in TWEAK IT.

To kick off the series, I talked to Marci Alboher, VP of, about her new book The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Difference and a Living in the Second Half of Life (Workman)

As you will see from my enthusiasm during the interview, I am a huge fan of Marci’s and of the Encore Career movement.

Listen and get inspired to think about your encore…it is never to early to start exploring and planning.


Thursday book signing! Sages Pages, Madison, NJ…Special Guest Julie Burstein

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Join us! If you are in the area of Madison, NJ on Thursday evening 1/ 17 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm, I will be signing books at Sages Pages on Main Street.

Also, as a special treat, my friend author, TEDTalker and WNYC host, Julie Burstein, will interview me about TWEAK IT and how to find the fit between work and life in today’s modern, hectic world.

My “Tweaks of the Week”: Community, Doctors, Finances

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Every Sunday, I complete the TWEAK IT practice.  Now that the book is out, you can join me!  

Each week, I will share the unique and standard “tweaks of the week” I entered into the mobile-friendly tracker “My Tweaks” tracker that you access when you join the Tweak It Together community site.

Then I would love to hear from you:

  • What small actions are you going to make happen in the next seven days?
  • What advice do you need?
  • What advice can you share with me and others?

Here is how I worked through the practice for the week of January 14th:

My TWEAK IT snapshot: This coming week, I am deep in the launch of the book and the introduction of  a whole new package of products for employees and leaders in organizations. In other words, there’s a lot of work to do!

With that in mind, here are the small actions that I will make part of my everyday work+life fit:

My standard tweaks: These are the standard tweaks that I want to accomplish and recorded in my mobile-friendly tracker:

My unique tweaks for the week: my three areas of focus will be community, doctors appointments and personal finances.

Community: I want to take the girls to the funeral of a very special young boy from our church who died on Friday.  He and his family mean a great deal to our community and it is important we help them celebrate his life.

Doctors: Every six months, I like to schedule all of the basic doctors appointments (e.g. physicals, dentist, eye doctor) so that I get the times that work best for me and we don’t forget.

Personal Finances: Every January, we say “we are going to really commit to a website to monitor our finances” but each year we look, sort of try and not commit.  I want to pick one and just do it.  Also, after Super Storm Sandy, we need to review our insurance to make sure we are covered for wind and other types of damage in the future.




Collaboration and communication: This is probably the most important part of the practice for me (page 2 of the worksheet). Here’s what I need to do and who I have to talk to to make my tweaks happen…

For my standard tweaks to succeed: I need to go to bed earlier on Monday and Wednesday night so that I can go to the gym early on Tuesday and Thursday.

For my unique tweaks to succeed: I talked to my husband about setting time aside to pick a financial website on Saturday and I rescheduled a meeting I had on Monday afternoon in order to go to the funeral.

Finally, I have entered my tweaks into my calendar and priority list system to that I have complete snapshot of my work+life fit as I am making decisions this week.

Now you!   

See you back here on Sunday January 20th.  We’ll celebrate your TWEAK IT success for the week, and plan how to make what matters to you happen in the next seven days!
Remember, to make what matters to you happen every day…Just TWEAK IT!





WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show: Tweak It–Small Changes, Big Differences

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On Thursday, I sat down with Alicia Menendez of the Huffington Post Live on WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show. We spent 30 minutes talking about how small actions can make what matters to you happen every day in the face of competing work and personal demands.

Replay: Live TWEAK IT Book Launch Webcast with Me and Maggie Mistal

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Join the TWEAK IT revolution and make what matters to you happen in 2013!

Thank you to my friend, radio host and top career coach, Maggie Mistal, for co-hosting the LIVE webcast launch of my new book, TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day (Center Street/Hachette).

This informative and fun interview covered:

Why we need to “sweat the small stuff”if we want to make what matters to us happen in the face of constantly competing work and personal demands.

What are the 7 modern truths about work and life we all need to embrace, including why there is no work-life “balance.

Who are the work+life “fit” naturals and how can their insanely simple secrets help is manage our lives on and off the job.

How the advice of the 50 personal life and career experts in the book can inspire you to get-started and improve your wellness, personal finances, career, caregiving, and personal and home maintenance.

How the Tweak It Together mobile-friendly site helps you track your “Tweaks of the Week” remotely and share your tweaks, advice and inspiration with others across all of the social media platforms.

How you can win a FREE coaching packet with Maggie Mistal (worth more than $5,000!). You must enter by 1/31/13. Check it out!


CLICK HERE==>To replay Live “TWEAK IT” Book Launch Webcast

Radio host and career coach, Maggie Mistal, interviews Cali Williams Yost about her new book TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day on a live webcast sponsored by Citrix.