Archive for February, 2013

NPR’s All Things Considered: My Thoughts on Yahoo’s Telework Reversal

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Yesterday, I was interviewed by NPR’s Laura Sydell about Yahoo’s decision to revoke the ability to telework. She shared my thoughts on All Things Considered.

What do you think about Marissa Mayer’s surprising choice to bring everyone back into the office?

In my new post on Fast Company, I explain why I think she’s actually done us all a big favor.

Elder Care “Tweaks” to Prepare Now, Before It Strikes

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I recently appeared on Huffington Post Live to discuss “Elder Care for the Baby Boomer Generation.”  Joining me on the segment was TWEAK IT elder care expert, Denise Brown, founder of, the amazing, online information and support community that helps men and women succeed with the difficult task of caring for adult family members.

After the segment, I asked Denise to share specific tweaks that we can make today to prepare for future caregiving responsibilities.  As she points out, “Eldercare is not something that happens to someone else. It will happen to all of us.”

You can find more of Denise’s wisdom in TWEAK IT:Make What Matters to You Happen Every DayHere’s one of her extra bonus “tweaks” from the TWEAK IT Together community site:

“Create back-up plans and then a back-up plan for your back-up plan. Research options in the community, even if you think you won’t need them. You never know. You have to ask the “what ifs.” It’s best to prepared, just in case. Check with your employer about an EAP or Work/Life benefit. Often EAPS and work/life providers will research options in your community (and your aging relative’s if he/she lives in another state) and help you create your back-up plans.(Click here to learn what to do if you don’t have access to an EAP).”

What small actions have you taken today to get ready to take care of your aging family members in the future?  Be sure to share in the comments section below or on Facebook.

5 Insanely Simple Work-Life Balance Shortcuts from People Who “Have It All”

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(This post originally appeared in

As the clocks and walls that used to divide work from the other parts of life began to disappear, I started to search for new modern ways to make what matters happen on and off the job.

For almost two decades, I’ve worked in the trenches with hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of individuals. I’ve helped make workplaces more flexible and given people the tools and skills to manage the fit between their work, career and personal lives. And, in the process, I’ve discovered a group I call the work+life fit “naturals.”

The “naturals” are the people whom you would describe as “having it all.” I estimate they represent about 10-15% of the people I encounter. They fit work and other parts of their lives together, seemingly, with ease while the rest of us struggle.

There are two ways I spot a work+life fit natural. Whenever I engage with a new company, I ask to be introduced to “two or three people who seem to manage everything they need to get done without breaking a sweat.” The client will say something like, “Oh, you should meet John. He has three kids. His wife works. He’s a triathlete and runs a not-for-profit on the side. Honestly, I don’t think he’s human.” Then I meet John. Usually, he’s less super-human than his colleagues perceive him to be from the outside, but he does consistently make what matters happen as often as possible.

I also pay attention to the people who come up to me after I give a speech or workshop. Naturals approach cautiously and ask, “I’m sorry, please don’t be offended, but I am confused by why this is so hard for people. Isn’t it pretty straightforward.” To them, it’s as if I’d given detailed instructions on how to get out of bed and brush their teeth in the morning. After I probe further, it’s clear that they’ve intuitively figured out how get their job done, and still have a life, while their colleagues in similar positions flounder.

What are the secrets of these work+life fit naturals? How do they “have it all”? What I discovered is that most of them follow these insanely simple steps:

The naturals realize it’s their responsibility to make what matters to them happen, day-to-day, in the face of competing demands. They know that no one is going to tell them when to finish a work project, get the gym, learn a new job skills, get their car serviced and take their son to the movies.

They don’t run separate work and personal calendars and priority lists. They keep everything in one place; therefore, they make day-to-day decisions based on a complete picture of their commitments on and off the job. If they receive a meeting request at work, the natural will think twice before saying “yes.” Is it urgent? What else do I have planned? If there’s a conflict, can I suggest another time, or do I have to miss lunch with my friend? Sometimes the answer will be to agree to the meeting and miss the lunch. Other times, an alternate time and day will work for everyone. The point is that their decisions are intentional.

The naturals consistently and frequently check in and reflect: What’s happening at work and in the other parts of my life? What do I want more of? What do I want less of? What do I want to continue? They realize that the actions that keep them healthy, their career network and job skills up to date, their personal relationships strong and their personal finances in shape won’t happen by default and are always changing.

When they see a gap between what’s happening on and off the job, and what they want, the naturals take small, manageable steps in the areas of their life they’ve identified as important. They’ll put it on the calendar to:

  • Call the insurance agent to make sure their coverage is adequate and current.
  • Schedule a day off with their partner to catch up.
  • Gather their siblings who live in different cities on a Google Hangout to make sure everyone understands their parents’ caregiving wishes.

They don’t expect perfection. Naturals focus on and celebrate what does get done, even if it’s only part of what they had planned. It’s better than nothing and over time creates a solid foundation of well being and order we all crave.

“I already do that.” Actually, most of us don’t, but we all can!

When I first started to share these insanely, simple secrets a few years ago, people would push back and say, “I already do that.” I knew they didn’t but I needed proof if I was to convince them to embrace this practice of small changes with big impact.

I decided to have people who attended one of my events complete a basic, four question pre-session questionnaire. Over the course of a few months, more than 240 answered the questions and this is what I discovered:

  • 75% agreed that “on average, I actively manage my work and personal responsibilities and goals daily or weekly.”
  • 40% agreed that “I always keep a calendar with all of my personal and work to-dos and goals in one place.”
  • 26% agreed that “On average, I set time aside daily or weekly to check in with myself and answer the question, “What do I want?”
  • Only 15% said, “When I see a mismatch between what I want in my work+life fit and what’s happening I make adjustments, always.”

In other words, yes, they thought they managed their responsibilities on and off the job deliberately and with intention. But most made their everyday choices using an incomplete picture of what they had to accomplish at work and in their personal lives. Even fewer regularly reflected on what they wanted, and almost no one always took the small steps to close the between what they want and what’s happening on and off the job.

The good news is that we all can become work+life fit naturals. Their secrets are translated into a practical, commonsense weekly practice found in my new book, TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day (Center Street/Hachette) and on the mobile-friendly site Join me! Just tweak it, and make what matters to YOU happen every day.

Are you a work+life fit natural? Take this simple, four-question quiz and find out.

Also, I invite you to follow me on Twitter @caliyost and “Like” the Work+Life Fit Facebook page.


How to “Tweak” Dating Into Your Busy Everyday Work+Life Fit

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When I talk to people about what’s missing from their busy everyday work+life fit, those who are currently single will often rank “dating” at the top of the list.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I asked Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, and the dating expert whom I interviewed in TWEAK IT, to offer his best get-started advice.

As a bonus, Thomas brought along his finance, Laurie Davis, who is also a dating expert.  She is the founder of E-Flirt Expert and the author of, “Love at First Click.”

You can listen to the podcast of our conversation or read the transcript below.  Happy Valentine’s Day and happy dating!

PODCAST LINK==> How to “Tweak” Dating Into Your Busy Work+Life Fit with Thomas Edwards and Laurie Davis

Cali: Welcome everybody, each week I like to introduce you to another one of the experts who share their wisdom in my new book “Tweak It.” This week we have a special treat. We not only have Thomas Edwards, the founder of The Professional Wingman who is the dating expert I interviewed for the book, but we are joined by his fiancée Laurie Davis, who is the founder of E-flirt Expert.  Two dating experts who are going to help us finally figure out how to make dating part of our everyday busy work life fit. So welcome Thomas and Laurie.

Thomas: Thank You

Laurie: Good Evening, how are you?

Cali: I’m great. I’m going to have you both start off by telling us a little bit about your respective sites and areas of expertise and then we’ll get started.

Thomas: Ladies first.

Laurie: Thanks. My company E-Flirt Expert is an online dating consultancy and we work with people one on one by writing their profiles, helping them educating them on what to say in an email and all the way up to helping them manage their accounts when they don’t have the time to just tweak it and  make it work. I’m also the author of a new book that just came out called “Love at First Click, the ultimate guide to online dating.”

Cali: Thomas.

Thomas:  I’m Thomas Edwards, founder of the Professional Wingman and we are a social strategy consultant agency that helps people develop better social skills primarily by going out and giving them real time feedback on what’s preventing them from making the kind of relationships that they want in their lives.

Why is finding time to date so difficult today?

Cali: Together I think you both are an absolute wealth of knowledge and will help us to crack this nut. I’ve told you both and everybody who’s watching this can tell I have been out of the dating world for a long time.  But I consistently hear from people that they feel like they really just don’t have the time to date.  What do you think makes dating so difficult for people who are busy?

Thomas: I think it’s a lot of things, I mean we now live in a world of infinite choice where now you throw in online dating where – so now there’s so many ways you can actually meet someone, then you combine the idea that we are working more and more in our lives – 60 hours plus – then you combine the fact that we don’t actually – we’re not taught these things. You know, we’re taught to get a job, we’re taught to understand math and geography and how to drive, but we are never taught how to actually go out in the real world and make personal connections with people that we may have just met.

Laurie: And even the things that you were taught like your grandmother or mom, these little snidbits of relationship tidbits, you never learned how to date online definitely – your grandmother did not teach you how to write a profile.

Cali: True

Thomas: Yeah, so it’s just a combination of a lot of those things that make it – I’m not going to say difficult, but just overwhelming. I mean, I personally think dating can be easy if you have the right strategies but if you don’t know where to even begin, you are more likely to not even start.

Cali: That’s interesting because I think that gives people permission to not blame themselves. It’s like I can’t do it – and just to say – well you weren’t taught. So maybe find some resources that can help you out.

Thomas: There’s … that’s one side. I also think the other side is if you’re doing the same thing or the same strategies and getting the same results then you start to look at yourself as a reason to blame because you’re not making the necessary adjustments to improve your life or at least make a change that you can record as data so you can tweak it along the way to improve it so it just – it works both ways. It’s something that you have to actually put in an effort to do – but at the same time getting that knowledge and letting the strategies are also as important.

What are some small dating actions, or “tweaks,” people can take?

Cali: Ok, so help us out. Thomas you offered some terrific tips for getting started in the book, but what would both of you say one small thing that somebody could do true to your point A. learn how to date and B. take action.

Laurie: Really easy, especially with online dating there’s so many choices there’s so many sites there’s so many people on them it really overwhelms and the easiest thing to do is to just make it part of your routine, it’s a 20 minute thing that you do every day, it’s part of your online behavior – so read the Washington Post, check your dating site account, you message a couple of people, you are on to the next thing – so it’s just part of your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be some big overwhelming thing that you have to sit in front of the computer and do for three hours.

Cali: That’s good to know.  And people get results – you’ve seen that?

Laurie: Yeah, actually when you set a measurable goal like that you get better results, so whether it’s a time limit or whether it’s a number of people you are going to message that’s what I find works best.

Cali: Thomas what do you think people should do?

Thomas: Ah, so when it comes to something that you can do, I like to think that people should focus more on their interests and hobbies as a way to meet people – so before you even walk out of your home or apartment wherever you live, do some research and check out events whether it’s on or, twitter, Facebook – wherever – find events that are going on that you are interested in whether it’s an art gallery opening, whether it’s a wine tasting, whether it’s a photography  exhibit – whatever it is – let your hobbies and passions guide you to those people who share things in common with as it will be a natural ice breaker when you start a conversation. When it comes to action, personally I believe there’s no better action then actually – there’s no better action than taking action – just go out there and start meeting people. When it comes to social skills, it’s not a knowledge thing it’s more of a experiential thing and so you are only going to get better as you continue to expose yourself to a variety of different environments and as you continue to do that, you will actually desensitize yourself to the anxiety and nervousness that you would normally get, and so if you keep doing it the results will get better and better, you’ll become more and more comfortable, and you’ll start to see more and more success.

Cali: Let me just recap. Set a time limit – everyday commit to 20 minutes, which really does fit quite nicely in the tweak it practice because you could put that on your calendar for everyday 20 minutes to do your dating activities, then to find an activity – a meet up, an art gallery, gym, whatever it is that you are interested in and engage on common ground as a good ice breaker and then just do it – go out and just start meeting people and it will get easier and easier. Plus, you know what’s good about that is you are also doing something you like. So often time’s people say I don’t get to the gym or I love art but I never go to an art gallery, well you’re kind of getting a two-for then.  Right? Dating and an activity.

Thomas: Yeah, and I think it’s easy when it comes to looking for an event you can easily look on a Monday and find out if there’s something going on during the week. So you only have to look once.  Then when it comes to actually meeting people, the true key to actually being attractive is people seeing you having a good time- and the best chance to give yourself by having a good time is by doing things that you love.

Laurie: And if you’re more into doing things offline too, and you’re not sitting in front of a computer for the majority of the day, like some people are, you can download apps. So you could download an app that would tell you who in the vicinity is single, or you could just simply download an app for the site that you’re on so that you can be in connection on the go too.

Cali: Very good advice. So tell me now, how did you two meet?

Laurie: We met on Twitter.

Thomas: Of all things.

Examples of “tweak it” dating success

Cali: Social media – there you go. Give me a quick story of an example of somebody who did a small thing and they met somebody.

Thomas: Very interesting. Do you want to go first or do you want me to go…

Laurie: You go.

Thomas: Ok. So… one small tweak that I saw one of my client’s make was he was always so focused on going out to bars, going out to clubs to actually meet people and I asked him – well, how many hours a week do you actually spend out at the bars and clubs? And he would say – anywhere between 5-8 hours over the course of a weekend.  So I told him – well, what about the other time?  Like, you can definitely use that time to meet people as well.  And he didn’t think that that was available to him.  As if walking down the street he didn’t think it was possible to actually meet someone – so I said well listen, try it out – be aware of your environment – if you see someone you’d like to talk to as long as it’s appropriate – make your move and eventually he said that he actually met someone waiting for the train on the train platform going to work and within a few weeks they were dating.

Cali: That’s a small change – just changing your perception.  That’s easy to do right? Good. Laurie, how about you do you have a good story of someone making a small change and met somebody?

Laurie: I do I do. Sometimes it’s also about who you are searching for… when you are on a dating site. So I had a client who changed her preferences and her outlook on who she was looking for and stopped searching for her same type –but broadened her search and met up with someone who she might otherwise not find – and they dated for 6 months – and she said quote “it was the most adult relationship that she had ever been in”

Cali: Ok so to expand your preferences.

Laurie: Yeah, and to look outside of your comfort zone on who you’re dating too. Not just when you are dating but who.

Cali: You two are terrific.  I hope everybody visits your sites and that I’m going to hear less often that “I can’t find a date.” I think everybody who wants to find a date should be able to find one. Now, where can people find out more about you and your work?

Laurie: They can find me on and you can also find my book anywhere that books are sold. Again, it’s “Love at First Click.” 

Thomas: And for me, you can find me at the and you can also ask me a question on Twitter – I am @urwingman. 

Laurie: And I am @eflirtxpert.

Cali: And also you can go to the site and find a bonus tweak from Thomas Edwards, again he just gave terrific dating advice in the book and we have another bonus today with Laurie. Thank you both! Really appreciate it! And remember if you want to make what matters to you happen, just tweak it.

What are your simple, get-started tips for making dating part of your busy work+life fit?

For more:


My “Tweaks of the Week” February 11th: Writing, Valentine’s Day, Kids’ Tech & Spring Activities

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No “tweaks” last week…my sites were hacked by “content scrapers!” It looks like we have all of the firewalls in place to stop them… fingers crossed.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post my “Tweaks of the Week” last week because every time I input new content into my blog, TWEAK IT Together site, or Flex+Strategy Group / Work+Life Fit corporate site, all three would crash.

For the past few weeks we’ve tried to figure out why this happened.  Finally, the programmers discovered the server what being “bombed” (for lack of a better word) by login attempts and crashing.  And it did seem to happen most frequently when I would add new content to the site.

Their theory is that “content scrappers” were trying to take the new information. Hmmm….Regardless, new firewalls are in place, and we can now track and share our ‘Tweaks of the Week” for February 11th!

But before we get started, I want to share my…

Favorite reader “TWEAK IT” of the week:

This tweak comes from the comments on my Fast Company post “5 Insanely Simple Work-Life Balance Shortcuts from People Who “Have It All:

“I totally agree on breaking it down into small steps.  Just yesterday I met a woman who was asking me about work and life.  She said that her aging parents were in Asia, and she wanted a life where she could go see them on a regular basis.  I said, “It sounds like you want to see your parents.”  She answered that she did, and her eyes began to well up.  I said, “Ask for a week’s vacation and go see them.” Sometimes we are so stuck on the idea of getting a sustainable, long-term fit in place, that we don’t see that just a little bit can go a really long way.”

What matters to me at work the week of February 11th:

This week I have two main goals, both of which require long periods of concentration: 1) Finish three articles, and 2) Finalize the marketing copy with my team for new products and services we are launching.  I have blocked off most of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

What matters in my personal life the week of February 11th:

For my standards tweaks this week, I have added “Make time to blog about my Tweaks of the Week” to my standard tweaks. My routine is to pick my tweaks on Sunday, but I have struggled to find time to blog about them.  The site crashing issues didn’t help!  Now that they are resolved (knock on wood), hopefully it will become just another part of my habit.

This week for my unique tweaks I want to:

  • Celebrate Valentine’s day with my family. Love the love!
  • After the storm, my grey car is now white from the salt. Normally, I drive around like that for weeks, but I’ve learned from the TWEAK IT car maintenance expert, that’s not good.
  • With the kids this week, the focus is on reviewing and resetting the technology boundaries (the phone is always in their hands again), and
  • All of the Spring activity schedules are set. My husband and I need to put them into our TWEAK IT snapshots and coordinate carpools.

What about you?  How will you “tweak” your work+life fit to take to make what matters happen the week of February 11th?


FMLA Turns 20: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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This morning, when I appeared on the CoHealth Checkup Radio Show to discuss “Resolving Work vs. Life Conflict,” hosts Fran Melmed and Carol Harnett asked me what I thought about the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) turing 20 years old.

My response covered the good, the bad and the ugly:

The Good of FMLA

Yes, since FMLA was implemented, workers have used it 100 million times to care for loved ones and themselves without fear of losing their job. And the dire predictions that businesses would collapse under its weight did not materialize. This should be celebrated.

The Bad of FMLA

Unfortunately, many Americans are not able to take advantage of the time off and protections offered under FMLA. Because it is unpaid leave, it can be too costly.  And, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt, which means that tens of millions are ineligible.

The Ugly

While there is nothing “ugly” about FMLA itself, the caregiving demands we are going to face over the coming decades will be daunting for many, especially responsibilities related to eldercare. Yesterday, I appeared on Huffington Post Live to discuss the looming “The Eldercare Cliff,” and it was clear from the experts interviewed that things are bad now, but they are going to get much worse. The unpaid, limited support under FMLA will be inadequate for many, many families.

Where do we need to go?

Cheer the success of FMLA over the last two decades, but view it as a start, not an end. Use the Act’s success as a springboard to the next step which is paid leave that covers more workers. We desperately need it now, and will need it even more in the not too distant future.

What do you think?

For more, I invite you to:

Rethinking Work/Life Balance < Aol.on Life Tips Video>

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Recently, I visited Huffington Post Live to talk about TWEAK IT and why we need to rethink the way we fit work into our lives every day.  

This three-minute segment, “Rethinking Work-Life Balance,” was rebroadcast on Aol.on Life Tips.

Here’s a preview of the issues that host, Alicia Menendez, and I addressed:

Alicia Menendez: So tell me why the rejection of work-life balance?

Me: Quite frankly, Alicia it just does not exist. It sets us up to look for something that we are never going to achieve. We don’t see the possibilities for our own work and life. And it has to be about the possibilities because there is no right answer. We’re all different. We all have unique realities at home and at work. So how do we fit it all together in a way that it works for us and our jobs?

Click below to watch more…

How the Work/Life Dialogue Evolved Over the Past 10 Years

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As I explain why TWEAK IT is an important missing piece of the work flexibility puzzle, I find people are curious about how the work-life dialogue has evolved over the last decade.  Here are my observations from the trenches that I share.

Ten years ago, for most people, walls and clocks still separated work from the other parts of life. Telework and flexible hours were new “bright, shiny,” concepts, but not mainstream. Most people still operated from the mindset that I work Monday-Friday, 9-to-5 pm, in an office.  When I leave the office, it’s my personal time.  Work-life balance primarily, if not exclusively, was discussed as a working mothers’ issue.

Over the past five years, the economic downturn, the rapid spread of mobile technology, the aging population and the “digitally-native” Millennials entering the workplace have transformed our lives on and off the job. The physical and time boundaries that used to divide our work and personal lives disappeared almost overnight.

Telework, flexible hours and even project-based work became common, everyday realities.  But, the change has happened so fast that employers, individuals and the culture haven’t had time to catch up and adapt.

It’s 2013 and businesses still struggle to bring their policies and practices into the 21st Century.  Culturally, we continue to talk about “work-life” primarily as it relates to parents, even though the number of elder caregivers, and working retirees grows exponentially.

Without the clear lines between work and life, we’re not sure how to do our jobs well and get to the gym, meet a friend for coffee, attend a networking event, or even get a haircut.  We fail to communicate and collaborate with each other so what we want to accomplish on and off the job gets done in a way that works for everyone.

We need new everyday work and life management skills.  That’s why I wrote my new book TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day(Center Street) and launched the TWEAK IT Together community site.  I wanted to give people a simple, weekly practice to deliberately capture the small actions that build the foundation of well being and order we crave, but that’s missing for so many people today.

How has the way work fits into your life every day changed for you over the last few years?

For more, I invite you to: