Striving for Greater Fitness At Work

A few weeks ago, I hiked the Milford Track in New Zealand over three days and reflected on the journey in this blog.  I observed that “less time at the computer, and more hours walking and building stronger muscles BEFORE my NZ trip” would have allowed me to enjoy the glorious surroundings more.

I also referred to Lisa’s assessment that “Research shows that those who move, do better, achieve more, and feel better and more satisfied.” In particular, one study cited by the Harvard School of Public Health blog where researchers surveyed the dietary and activity habits of  50,000 middle-aged women for six years concluded: Read more

Soft Landings in a Hard Economy

Last week something emerged from my past. Don’t worry. You are not about to receive TMI. But it was meaningful for me.

It was a go-to personal resource book that helped me as I moved from my first to second job out of graduate school. The book has since assisted generations of job hunters and career changers.

What Color is Your Parachute? written by Richard Bolles, has been updated 40 times, has sold 10 million copies, and has been translated into 20 languages. The book and its 87 year old author were recently featured in a Workstation column written by Phyllis Korkki in the New York Times.

What the article reminded me of is how technology has both expanded and closed job opportunities for much of the United States workforce. Korkki points out that “many aspects of the most recent edition would sorely perplex” early readers. “’What is this Google he speaks of?’ they would ask, after reading Mr. Bolles’s admonition that ‘Google is your new resume.’”
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Everybody’s talkin’ bout it– work/life balance

It is finally summer here in Maine. The lupines have bloomed already, and the wild roses and peonies now have center stage. The windows are wide open, and I smell roses in the front, peonies in the back of my house. At night, the lightening bugs light up the sky in synchronous bursts of glow. It is, as our license plate boasts, vacationland.

Our seasons are different than other states: winter (long), mud season (spring?), guest season (summer), leaf peeping season (fall). We are definitely in guest season and are happy to host friends and family from across the country and abroad, too. As we catch up over lobster dinners, the conversation drifts from family, friends, work, and into life balance. We have a wide array of guests including entrepreneurs, artists, journalists, small business owners, professionals, academics, as well as those who work in the not for profit and government agency sectors.

They are all singing the same song: too much work time, not enough down time. Too much work, not enough time to do it, not enough people hired to be able to catch up. Working at their desks through lunch, sometimes dinner. I feel torn, too, just by their being in my house. On the one hand I miss them and want to spend as much time as I can with them while they are here. On the other hand, I am not on vacation and have much work to do. Read more

Focus to Work Effectively Online

In preparing for a recent overnight visit from long-time friends, I was reminded of the French phrase mise en place—establishing intent and work plan by putting the food items and equipment in place in the kitchen prior to cooking. Since my brigade de cuisine is mainly me, I had to work ahead of their arrival and line up tools and ingredients to make the final preparations for dinner go fast, look easy, and still have time to socialize. My husband and I succeeded. The four of us enjoyed our time together, our friends loved the food, and the leftovers became our “meal of the week,” i.e., we kept eating until it was all gone!

This experience made me think of mise en place in regard to working online. How do we ensure that we have the right readiness–whether it is mindset, clarity of purpose, space, and equipment to accomplish the things most important to us?

When the mind is ready, the opportunity to learn appears.

Before Desk

My Desk Before Focus

Leo Babauta came to my rescue. His Focus: Simplicity in the Age of Distraction ebook, free and available here, beautifully captures the challenges of our current time:

“…we have distractions coming from every direction. In front of us is the computer, with email notifications and other notifications of all kinds. Then there’s the addicting lure of the browser, which contains not only an endless amount of reading material that can be a black hole into which we never escape, but unlimited opportunities for shopping, for chatting with other people, for gossip and news and lurid photos and so much more. All the while, several new emails have come in, waiting for a quick response. Several programs are open at once, each of them with tasks to complete. Several people would like to chat, dividing our attention even further. ” Read more