Face the Modern Facts About Work and Life (Quick Tip #1)

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Welcome to Day #1 of the TWEAK IT “Quick Tips” video series!

For six days, I will share short, get-started nuggets of wisdom to help you fit work and life together every day in a way that let’s you be your best, on and off the job.

My friends at Citrix produced the videos to preview the FREE webinar, “TWEAK IT: Harness the Power of Small Changes for Work-Life Harmony”, I am facilitating on Tuesday, June 18th at 1:00 pm est.

Join us for the webinar (more than 1,000 people have registered so far) and enjoy the tips!

TWEAK IT Tip #1: Face the Modern Facts About Work and Life

Today, I explain:

  • How the way we live and work has transformed radically
  • Why this change affects all of us, not just women and mothers
  • Why we can’t wait for our manager or employer to “give” us work+life flexibility

Tomorrow’s Tip: Make your everyday choices intentional.

My TWEAK IT Faith Paid Off! Celebrate with FREE a Webinar Sponsored by Citrix

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Writing a book is a multi-year journey of faith.

Faith that others will see the problem driving you to write your book.  For me, that problem continues to be the:

  • Disappearance, over the past two decades, of the clocks and walls that used to tell us where work ended and the other parts of our life began, and
  • Lack of understanding how to use the increased flexibility in how, when and where we work to be our best.

Faith that your solution will be understood and have impact.  In this radically new reality, knowing how to manage the way work fits into life, day-to-day, is a modern skill set we all need to succeed, but few of us have.

With  TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, my goal was to give everyone a simple, commonsense practice that would help them deliberately and intentionally:

  • Harness the power of small actions at work, in their career and in their personal lives,
  • Use the increased flexibility in how, when and where we work, and
  • Build a foundation of well-being, order and performance, on and off the job.

Finally, faith that the problem and solution you’ve spend years articulating will help even one person. Thankfully, six months after the release of  TWEAK IT, the book and community, it looks like my faith has paid off!

From the readers who reach out directly, to the individuals who approach me after a speech and the media that cover the book, the response has been overwhelmingly positive!

And the TWEAK IT journey has only just begun.

Let’s celebrate!  

Please join me on TUESDAY, JUNE 18th at 1:00 pm EST for a FREE webinar “TWEAK IT: Harness the Power of Small Changes for Work-Life Harmony” sponsored by my good friends at Citrix!  You will learn:

  • What changed over the past two decades to make knowing how to manage your work+life fit day-to-day a modern skill we all need to succeed,
  • Why success is not just about good time management–or “what” you’ll do “when”–but also, “how” and “where” you make what matters happen each week and
  • How to begin to make the TWEAK IT practice part of your weekly routine.

I hope to see you on the webinar next Tuesday!

What small meaningful action do you want to make part of your work+life fit this week?

If you haven’t already, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost and to “like” our Facebook page.

 

 

 

CNBC: Why Vacation is a Strategic Business Imperative, Not Optional Benefit

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This week I appeared on CNBC’s Street Signs to comment on a new study that shows the United States of America is the only rich, Western country to offer NO paid, mandatory vacation.  None.  Zip.  Zero.

Of course, afterwards I thought of a great comeback to host Brian Sullivan’s Renault curveball…”But I have driven a BMW, and Germany mandates 34 days off, versus France’s 31 days.”  Oh well.

It’s not as if the other countries are only marginally better, offering two, or maybe three, mandatory, paid vacation days.  Nope.  The country second to last on the list before the U.S., Japan, mandates ten days.  Ten.

To get a sense of just how far off the bell curve the U.S. ranks, here’s the comparative chart from the “No-Vacation Nation Revisited” study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (that’s us on the very far right where is says “0″):

Now, I’m not under any illusion that the U.S. will offer European, or even Canadian, level paid days off; however, the simple fact is that every single one of these countries can’t be wrong.  There must be some valuable return from this investment or they wouldn’t keep doing it.  What is it?

What can we learn and then adapt to our culture and economy? What should mandatory, paid vacation and holidays look like in the U.S.?

How to Make Vacation Part of Your Busy, Everyday Work+Life Fit (Video)

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I don’t care what the calendar says, for me, Memorial Day marks the official beginning of summer! 

Hopefully, over the next three months, you will take a real, put-your-mobile-phone away, reconnect with your friends and family, vacation.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a long weekend or ten days.  Take a vacation!!

Why?  In a do-more-with-less, always on economy, vacation is no longer a “nice to have,” but optional, benefit.  To be as innovative, focused, and engaged as possible, we all need time to rest and recharge.

Unfortunately, the U.S. ranks dead-last on the list of rich, Western countries offering mandatory, paid vacation.  In fact, we are the only country that offers nothing.  (If you are interested in why I believe this is not only a shameful, but unsustainable strategy for the U.S. economy, check out my recent appearance on CNBC’s Street Signs).

No one is going to tap us on the shoulder and say, “hey, get out of here and hit the beach.”  WE have to take the initiative to schedule periodic getaways IN ADVANCE based on the time available to us, our budget, etc.

Yes, I know you are busy.  Yes, I know it can be overwhelming to plan a trip.

Yes, I know it’s a hassle to get out of the office before you leave and then deal with emails, etc. when you get back.

Yes, I know because I feel the exact same way.

But I also understand that when too much time has elapsed between breaks, the well runs dry. I start to go through the motions at work but quality suffers.

To inspire us all to get away, I have asked TWEAK IT inspiration travel expert (and hands on dad!), Matt Villano, to share some of his best simple “get started” vacation tips (below).  Villano writes extensively on travel, and is featured on Expedia.com’s  Viewfinder Blog.  You can also follow him on Twitter @mattvillano.

Here’s an example of Villano’s helpful “bonus tweak” vacation advice from the TWEAK IT Together site:

“Plan a quarterly getaway. Start to consider an overnight. It could be one night, or it could be a weekend-type trip. It doesn’t have to be wildly expensive. You could go camping. You could stay at a Motel 6. It doesn’t really matter where you’re sleeping. What matters is that when you go, you’re actually immersing yourself in the culture of wherever it is you head. And by that, I mean, if you’re going to go to the Ozark Highlands of Missouri, get out and hike. Get a kayak and go paddle some of the rivers. Try some of the hole-in-the-wall type restaurants with food that you would never in a million years consider getting in your hometown.”

Enjoy!  Be sure to tell me where you go this summer AND then how you felt when you got back.

How to Manage Tech Distraction in Our Busy, Everyday Work+Life Fit (Video)

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Love it or hate it, technology has infiltrated every part of our lives.

Not only has it erased the boundaries that used to tell us where work ends and the other parts of life begin, but the distraction of technology has changed the way we think and focus.  Not necessarily for the better.

According to author and “distraction” expert, Maggie Jackson, technology has become an “invisible appendage” for many of us.

She believes that our constant reactivity to the demands of technology is diffusing the quality of our thoughts and undermining the integrity of everyday moments.

We have to “handle our minds before we handle our devices” so that we can enjoy the many benefits of technology while maintaining the focus, awareness and executive attention that are critical to creativity and quality life experience.

In this video interview (below), Maggie Jackson expands upon the “managing tech distraction” get-started advice she offered as one of the inspiration experts featured in my new book, TWEAK IT, and on the TWEAK IT Together community site.

At the beginning of our talk, Jackson shares why it’s important to manage distraction, why we often get stuck, and offers small “tweaks” to get started building more focus time into your busy, every day work+life fit.

But at about minute 7:25, Jackson goes into more fascinating detail about the different forms of attention–Focus, Awareness, and Executive Attention.  

She explains how she tailors the simple steps she takes to maintain attention in her own work+life fit based upon the type of attention she is trying to achieve.  For example, the “tweaks” for focus are different than for awareness.

Then we end our discussion with Jackson talking about her new project.  She is writing a book about the reflective mind, or how, once you’re able to minimize distraction, what do you do with that time of reflection?

Enjoy!

What small meaningful steps do you take day-to-day to manage the distraction of technology and build in time for attention, focus and reflection?

It’s Not Just About “When” You’ll Work, But “Where” and “How”

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For the past two weeks, I have traveled the country to share the skills we need to flexibly manage our work+life fit day-to-day (tweaks) and at major transitions (resets) in partnership with our employers.

My experience on the road has reinforced that most of us have no idea how to capture and use work flexibility, intentionally, to meet our needs and exceed expectations on our jobs.

There is a massive 65% flexibility “how to” knowledge gap. It’s occurred because 82% of full-time U.S. workers say they have some form of informal or formal flexibility in how, when or where they work, but only 17% of employers train their people how to use it. That assumes you work for one employer. If you don’t, then no one teaches you anything.

We’ve thrown everyone into the work flexibility water without lessons and said, “swim,” then wonder why so many of us still cling to the side of pool not sure how to move forward.

One area of confusion I hear often is that most people still think managing your work+life fit is simply a matter of good time management. Actually, it’s not.

In a world without clocks and walls to tell us where work ends and the other parts of our life begin, “when” we are going to accomplish a particular action or priority is important. But you also have to focus on the “where” and “how.”

It’s a “what, when, where and how” practice.

For example, according to a new study by Regus:

  • 82% of workers in the NY Tri-State region said that they spend at least one day per month working outside of their office.
  • 62% felt that their employer expects them to be available to respond to work issues during this time.
  • But only 18% said that they actually got work done if they were outside of their office, between meetings and had free time.

Why? Because they had no good place to actually do work. Restaurants, coffee shops and airports are noisy, and unpredictable.

As as result, many respondents ended up taking care of personal tasks during that down time, like shopping, walking around or answering personal emails.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending time on personal activities as long as it is a deliberate work+life fit choice. Unfortunately, it seems that for many it’s a default response to a lack of quality in between “not in the office, but not at home” workspace.

Thankfully that is changing. Organizations like Regus, WorkSnug and other specialized, membership based co-working entities like In Good Company, are offering drop-in, temporary, co-working options in major cities across the world.  I have made it a point to learn as much as I can about these new, flexible workspaces because they are an important solution that most of us don’t think about.

As you look at your work and personal “to dos” for the upcoming week, don’t be afraid to schedule multiple meetings in a location knowing you will have a place to go in between and still be productive. You don’t have to hope you will find a free table and power source at the local Starbucks.

Today, flexibly managing your work+life fit is not just about “when” you get everything done. It’s also about “where” and “how”. More “not the office but not at home” in between co-working spaces expand the possibilities. They allow you to be more intentional about how you choose to make what matters to you happen, on and off the job. Find them, and strategically use them. I am!

Do you think about “where” and “how” you will do you job and manage the other parts of your life each week, or do you primarily focus on “when?”

For more, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost , “Like” our Facebook page, and sign up for our weekly Flex+Strategy/Work+Life Fit Insights newsletter.

 

LIVE 5/8 in NYC FREE Event and Book! It’s Not About “Balance”–Your Work-Life Can Be “Flexible”

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I am very excited to offer this special opportunity courtesy of Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces.

Join me LIVE for a FREE Event and Book  in New York City on Wednesday, May 8, 6:30pm – 8:00pm.  

I will help celebrate the grand opening of the Regus’ first-ever, ground level Business Lounge, 747 Third Avenue in New York City, which is conveniently located in Midtown at 46th and Third.

I will share my newest thinking about work+life flexibility–where we are, where it’s going, what people and businesses need to do better and smarter for flexible work success.

AND, if you are one of the first 50 attendees, you will receive a complimentary signed copy of my new book, TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day!  

This event could not happen at a better time.

The incredible news firestorm around Yahoo’s and Best Buy’s decision to end their work-from-home policies got the whole country thinking about the notion of being able to work more flexibly.  From the C-suite to front line managers in charge of a stressed and exhausted workforce, the conversation around the “new way to work” has never been more top of mind.

There are even bottom line issues for companies to consider – “if I create more opportunities for people to work from anywhere, can I trim by real estate costs?” not to mention employee retention and improved morale.

Why is Regus sponsoring this event?  Regus has also been a champion of working flexibly since the late 1980s, and has locations in 600 cities in nearly 100 countries.   And they believe the new Business Lounge will be life-changing for any New Yorker looking for a professional alternative to coffee shops and make-shift offices for less than the cost of a daily latte.

I agree!  Check it out, get a book, and say “hi.”  Hope to see you, your friends, your colleagues there.

My “Tweak of the Week” for April 15th. Share Yours!

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How are you going to tweak the way work fits into your life this week and make what matters happen over the next seven days?

Check out this brief two-minute video where I share my “tweaks of the week” for the week of April 15th.

I want to hear from you!

We tried the LIVE Facebook hangout on Monday’s at lunch time, but I got feedback that’s not a good time because people don’t feel comfortable logging into Facebook at work (makes sense).

So, let’s try again…

Join me SUNDAY EVENING April 21st from 8:00-8:30 pm est LIVE on our Facebook page, to:

  • Celebrate what you did accomplish this week
  • Share one or two small actions with big impact you are going to make part of your work+life fit next week
  • Ask questions and get encouragement to stay on track!

Share your tweaks for this week any time on Twitter.  Use hashtag #mytweaks and cc. me @caliyost.  I will give you  a personal shout-out!

Remember, without clocks and walls to tell us where work ends and the other parts of life begin, if you want to make what matters to you happen every day…just TWEAK IT!

 

My standards tweaks for the week of April 15:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My unique tweaks for the week of April 15:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Personal Finance Part of Your Busy, Everyday Work+Life Fit

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Next Monday is Tax Day. And, for many, it’s the annual reminder that, “I really need to pay more attention to my money.” 

But good intentions get lost in the everyday busyness of work and life unless we make personal financial management an ongoing, deliberate part of our weekly TWEAK IT practice.

Thankfully, TWEAK IT Personal Finance Expert, Manisha Thakor, can get us started!

Manisha Thakor is the founder of MoneyZen Wealth Management LLC and the author of a number of terrific personal finance books.

Her accessible and understandable approach to money is, “If we simplify our finances, we simplify our life.”

Recently, I spoke to Manisha about the steps we can take to manage our personal finances better and smarter.  Here are highlights of our brief, but very insightful conversation:

  • After candidly sharing a couple of personal financial challenges that I face, Manisha explains how to get around these common roadblocks.
  • In addition to the terrific personal finance “tweaks” she offers in the book and on the www.tweakittogether.com site, Manisha shares an important, powerful small step we can all take this week to improve our personal financial well-being.
  • Finally, as a busy entrepreneur, Manisha talks about the one small step she makes part of her weekly routine that has improved her sense of well-being and order.

I hope you learn as much from our conversation as I did.

To find out more about Manisha Thakor and her Money Zen personal financial management philosophy, check out www.moneyzen.com.

 

Remember, if you want to make what matters to you happen every day, just TWEAK IT!

 

 

Your “Tweaks” for the Week of April 8th? Here are Mine! (video)

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How are you going to tweak the way work fits into your life this week to make what matters happen every day?

Check out this brief two minute video where I share my “tweaks of the week” for the week of April 8th, and tell the story behind the scary picture of me below!

Now I want to hear from you! Join me TODAY, Monday, April 8th from 12:30-1:00pm est LIVE on our Facebook page, to:

  • Celebrate what you did accomplish last week
  • Share one or two small actions with big impact you are going to make part of your work+life fit this week
  • Ask questions and get encouragement to stay on track!
Or, share your tweaks for this week any time on Twitter.  Use hashtag #mytweaks and cc. me @caliyost. I will see it and give you a shout out!

 

Just TWEAK IT! 

My standard tweaks for the week of April 8th:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I didn’t make it to the fundraiser last week…proof that I needed a shower after the gym!