Posts Tagged “work life balance”

Why the Federal Government’s Telework “Policy” Won’t Achieve Flexible Work Success

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I was originally booked on Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show to discuss how TWEAK IT can help individuals can find a better work-life “balance.”

But, the segment quickly turned into an opportunity to reinforce the link between work flexibility AND the skills and tools people need to capture that flexibility and use it to be their best, on and off the job (which, ultimately, is what TWEAK IT is about).

Below, you will find a link to the lively 13-minute discussion I had with hosts, Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.  Some of the key points we covered included:

  • Like in any organization, the government’s telework “policy” is not enough to create a successful culture of flexibility that meets the needs of the organization and its people.
  • In an environment with more duties and fewer resources, we can’t keep working harder and faster. We have to work and manage our lives smarter and better.
  • Telework is not a “program,” it is a way of operating in this “do more with less” environment that requires a partnership between the workplace and the person using it.
  • The skill set individuals need to play their role in that flexible work partnership includes the ongoing small, meaningful  “tweaks” to manage their everyday work+life fit and the “resets” that involve a more formal flexible work plan.
  • Truth is that not every type of job or level supports the same type of work flexibility. Good news is the everyday work+life “fit” how-to in TWEAK IT applies to everyone, regardless of the flexibility your job supports.
  • Technology allows more flexibility, but it has also caused us to become more reactive. We need to set better boundaries throughout the day but don’t know how.
  • We have to learn how to test expectations. Sometimes we think we have to respond immediately when we get a late night email or when we are on vacation.  But that is not the case.  Yet we don’t ask.

And there is much, much more.  Let me know what you think in the comments section.

And, if you haven’t already, I would love to connect with you on Twitter @caliyost and on Facebook and continue the conversation.

Top 10 Tips for Work+Life “Fit” Success in 2014

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Preparing to participate in the TODAY Show’s #DoingItAll series with Maria Shriver, made me think about the tips I’d want to share with everyone to help them be their best, on and off the job, in 2014.  So, here they are!

1) The goal is work+life fit, not balance. A perfect 50-50 split between your work and your personal life doesn’t exist.  And, for many people, “integration” is not the solution. It is the problem. They want work and life as separate as possible. Whether blended or separate, lots of work or a little, find your work+life “fit” or the way work fits into your life based upon your unique work and personal realities at a particular time.

2) Your employer can’t give you your work+life fit. Whether you have flexibility and support in your workplace or not, you still need to make your everyday work+life fit happen as deliberately as possible. And our research continues to prove most of us aren’t following the simplest steps that would make a big difference in our personal well-being and professional performance.

3) You have to learn how to manage your everyday work+life fit, flexibly and intentionally. It’s a modern skill set we all need to succeed, but few of us have. We are not taught how to put small, strategic boundaries up and allocate our time, money and energy across all the areas of our life. And we need to learn. What does that skill set look like? The Tweak It practice is one example of an everyday work+life fit how-to, while Work+Life is a process to create a formal flexible work plan that resets your work+life fit.

4) See all of your work, career and personal “to dos” as a big, beautiful buffet of possibilities.  We are too reactive to everything that comes at us daily. Reframe all of those endless “to dos” and see them as part of a big, beautiful buffet.  You can’t eat all of the dishes at once, even though most of us try to.

5) Set aside 20 minutes each week to reflect what you need to do and want to do at work, in your career and in your personal life.  This is where you will figure out how many servings you can take from which dishes on your work, career and personal life buffet to be your best over the next seven days.  Again, our research shows most of us don’t ask these simple questions.

6) Take small, meaningful actions, or “tweaks,” to close a gap between what’s happening in your work+life fit and what you want to have happen. Too often, we think a huge change is required to resolve the everyday overwhelm we feel. When the truth is a cup of coffee with a friend, doing your grocery shopping for the week online, or getting your haircut can make a big difference. But, once again, our research shows most of us don’t do this.

7) Keep a combined work and personal calendar and priority list.  You’ve identified the small, meaningful actions, or “tweaks,” you want to make in key areas over the next seven days. Now add them to a calendar and priority list that displays both your work and personal “to dos” for the week in one place. That way you are making decisions throughout the day based on a complete picture of what you want to accomplish on and off the job.

8) Good time management, or “what” you are going to do “when” is not enough. You have to think about “where” and “how” you will complete a particular tweak if you want it to happen.

9) Help each other! Life is way too fast-paced, and complex to think that we can go it alone and achieve success and well-being without any help. We have to work together to achieve our unique work+life fit goals in a mutually beneficial way. Want to try to walk for 30 minutes at lunch three times a week? Ask a colleague to cover for you, and then offer to cover for them if they have an important “tweak” they want to accomplish.

10) Celebrate success. If you choose seven additional work, career, or personal life tweaks for the week, but only accomplished five because of a customer crisis at work, and then your daughter got sick, celebrate the five you achieved. Perfection is not the goal. Life happens. Celebrate what you do get done, because it’s probably more than would have happened if you didn’t choose at all.

Here’s to a 2014 full of personal and professional success!

Related article: Fast Company–5 Insanely Simple Work Life Balance Shortcuts from People Who “Have It All” 

I invite you to connect with me and add to the list of “tips” in the comments section, on Twitter #worklifefit or on our Facebook page.

Celebrate Success! (Quick Tip #6)–Join Me: “TWEAK IT” Webinar TODAY

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Welcome to Day #6 of TWEAK IT “Quick Tips” Video Series! 

 

For six days, I have shared  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” webinar I am facilitating TODAY, Tuesday, June 18th at 1:00 pm est.

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

TWEAK IT Tip #6: Don’t Expect Perfection.  Celebrate Success! 

Today, I explain:

  • Why you need to make 70% you bar of success
  • Why it’s important to celebrate what you DO get done, because it’s often more than you give yourself credit for, and
  • Why one of the biggest mistakes we make is to expect perfection.

 

TWEAK IT “Quick Tips” Video Series Recap:

To make what matters to you happen every day…just “tweak it!”

Choose Specific Weekly “Tweaks” to Be Your Best, On and Off the Job (Quick Tip #5)

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Welcome to Day #5 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” webinar I am facilitating Tuesday, June 18th at 1:00 pm est.

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

TWEAK IT Tip #5: Choose Specific Weekly “Tweaks” To Be Your Best, On and Off the Job

Today, I explain:

  • How choosing specific “tweaks” related to work, your career and your personal life build a foundation of well-being and order
  • Why that foundation helps you be your best, on and off the job, and
  • Why those “tweaks” will be a combination of ongoing, “standard” actions and priorities that happen week after week, and “unique” tweaks that will always change.

Tomorrow’s Tip:  Don’t Expect Perfection, and Celebrate Success.

Harness the Power of Small Everyday Actions (Quick Tip #4)

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Welcome to Day #4 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” webinar I am facilitating Tuesday, June 18th at 1:00 pm est.

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

TWEAK IT Tip #4: Recognize and Harness the Power of Small Everyday Actions

Today, I explain:

  • How we tend to overlook the way the smallest actions contribute our sense of well-being, order and performance
  • Why these meaningful, small actions are barely noticeable to anyone but us, and
  • Why we need to harness them all into a weekly practice that allows us to celebrate their collective power.

Tomorrow’s Tip:  Choose to specific “tweaks” each week to build a foundation of well-being, order and performance.

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!

Just TWEAK IT!

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.

3 Reasons “Balance” Has Become a Dirty Word at Work

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(This post originally appeared in FastCompany.com)

Recently, as skeptical senior leader asked me to explain the business case for why organizations need to take a more coordinated, strategic approach to work flexibility.

I began to list all of the business benefits, including, “Millennials value their lives outside of work and expect to be able to do their jobs flexibly.” He responded, “The problem is that they don’t want to work hard. I would never have talk about work-life balance when I was their age. I just felt lucky to have a job.”

He is not alone in that thinking. The meme that Gen-Y/Millennials “don’t want to work hard” exists, in part, because they talk so openly about work-life balance. But is the bias fair?

First, there will always be people in every generation who who don’t want to work hard. The Gen-Y/Millennials are no exception, but is it accurate to ascribe that quality to an entire generation simply because they are open about how they want to make their lives both on and off the job a priority? It’s not, for the following reasons: (Click here for more)

My CNN Headline News “Work+Life Fit (Not Balance) is an Everyone Issue” Segment

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Yesterday, I appeared on CNN Headline News to discuss the work+life “fit” issues raised in Sunday’s New York Times article “When the Work-Life Scales are Unequal.”

Cali Williams Yost, CNN Headline News (9/4/12)

My keys points in the segment were that we need to:

  • De-parent and de-gender the conversation about work and life.  In our modern, hectic world, we all need flexibility and support to manage our responsibilities on and off the job.
  • Communicate and coordinate with each other more effectively to get our jobs done, and to make what matters to us in our personal lives happen as often as possible.  This mutually-beneficial collaboration and coverage model replaces the traditional “9-5, in the office, Monday-Friday” boundaries that used to tell us when work ended and our personal lives began that no longer exist.
  • Stop seeking work-life “balance” because it doesn’t exist.  All we can find is our own work+life “fit” and do it in a way that considers our needs and the needs of the business, our manager, and team.
  • Do a better job planning the personal activities and priorities we want to make part of our week.  See where there might be a conflict with work and identify whom you need to coordinate with.

What I didn’t get a chance to say is when you initiate that work+life fit coordination discussion with your colleagues, focus on “how” you are going to get your job done, and not on “why” you need to work differently.  It makes that conversation more productive and more likely to result in a mutually-beneficial outcome.

Marissa Mayer and Work-Life Nirvana (My Q&A w/ Reuters)

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(This article by Lauren Young appeared in Reuters.com on July 17, 2012)

The latest poster child for work-life nirvana is Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s newly appointed CEO – who is seven months pregnant.

Cali Williams Yost, a flexible work expert, says Mayer’s pregnancy is noteworthy and symbolic, but not career-defining.

Here are edited excerpts from an interview with Yost, a working mother of two daughters, based in Madison, New Jersey, and author of the forthcoming “Tweak It: Small Changes/Big Impact-Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day” (Center Street, January 2013).

Q. What does Mayer’s pregnancy mean for working women?

A. She is a powerful symbol of what people still think is impossible. The hullabaloo is that she challenges an outdated mindset. That’s why the fact that this is even happening is amazing; however, it’s not so amazing that it should be the sole focus of her tenure as the CEO of a company. It’s something to be remarked upon as what’s possible. It’s an example of how people combine work and life in a way that works for them.

My hope is that her story shows us that having a life – whatever that looks like, be it a pregnancy or an aging parent – should not keep you from doing your job. There will be women who don’t want to do what she’s doing, and there will be other women who look at her and say, “That’s me.”

Q. But most CEOs are not female.

A. Right. The only way women who are not very wealthy, in control of their schedules and in very senior positions can combine pregnancy and work is if we have all things we don’t have now. That includes affordable and reliable childcare, some kind of paid leave as well as eldercare support. For the normal, average, everyday woman, it’s much tougher.

Q. Why is “having it all” suddenly considered a failed theory? (For more, go to Reuters.com)

3 Ways to Break Out of The “All Work” Or “No Work” Death Trap

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(This post originally appeared in FastCompany.com)

As I observed the debate ignited by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s controversial “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” article in The Atlantic from afar over the past week, I witnessed person after person, including Slaughter, fall into the classic “all work” or “no work” trap.” It’s a death trap that immediately kills any productive conversation about creative, innovative ways to work differently. And that’s the real conversation we need to have.

But we won’t until we figure out how to avoid the “all or nothing” landmine that everyone seems to run into whenever a discussion about how to manage work and life in a modern, hectic world begins. Here are three simple steps to get us started:

First, understand what it looks like when someone falls into the trap. You’ll begin to recognize what to avoid. Here are a few examples related to the Slaughter article debate:

The truth is that Slaughter did not leave her senior position in the State Department to not work. She went back to her very busy, very prestigious full-time job as a professor at Princeton. The difference was at Princeton she has more control over her schedule.

Unfortunately, in many of the responses to and interviews about her article, the conversation quickly devolved into the unwinnable debate “should mothers work or stay home.” That’s not what Slaughter did or what she was talking about. And yet, that’s where we ended up.

Few were able to pull themselves out of the trap. It would have meant acknowledging that some people do choose to work all the time, or not work for pay at all, but what about everyone else? How do we take advantage of the countless possibilities in-between and do it in a way that works for us and our jobs?

Watch how Slaughter herself falls into the trap in this video from her interview at The Aspen Ideas Festival. She tries to explain how we should praise women who make work+life decisions in part to care for their families. But then assumes men can’t be guided by family concerns because they have to make money.

Actually, men could and often do make tough work choices based on family considerations as long as the default assumption isn’t that the only alternative is to “not work,” but to work differently.

Again, Slaughter did not choose to work less. She worked differently. There’s no reason a man couldn’t do the same. But in the “all work” or “no work” trap it’s impossible to stay in the grey zone of work+life possibility for all. What about the men who turn down promotions that would have required more work or take lower-paying jobs closer to home? I see it happen all the time, but because those choices don’t fit our rigid “all or nothing” work dichotomy, we don’t see or celebrate them. We should.

Very few people, men or women, can afford to not work even for a brief period of time; therefore, working smarter, better and more flexibly is the solution. Hopefully knowing what the trap looks like will help us avoid falling into it. And we can finally focus our discussion on the countless flexible ways of fitting work and life together.

Second, the issue is how to reset your unique work+life “fit” not work-life balance: If you have a few minutes, go back and re-read The Atlantic article. Everywhere you see the phrase “work life balance,” substitute “find a work+life fit that works for me and my job.” It’s almost magical what happens. All of sudden the unwinnable search to find “balance,” turns into a series of deliberate choices based on work and personal circumstances at a particular point in time. And much of the drama disappears. (For more,  click here to go to FastCompany.com)