Create your balance. Design your life.

Ask Madeleine Vol.18

Ask Madeleine Vol.18

Feb 10, 2014

Need a fresh perspective? Ask Madeleine.  She’s four and has no problem telling you exactly what to do.  Send in your questions–comment below, use the contact link, post them on our Facebook page, or email us at advice @ wlbpa.org How do you get over a bad habit like biting your nails? Madeleine: You can put a blanket over your fingers?  Then you can’t bite through it.  Try it.  [You are right!  I can’t bite my nails.  What if the problem was something like interrupting a lot?]  Oh.  Well, for interrupting, you put your hands in your lap and then you bubble your mouth. Then you can’t talk. [What does bubbling your mouth look like?] Also, you can cough into a blanket if you have a habit of spreading germs. [Unless that is the blanket you use to stop biting your nails.] Well, I don’t know. [What other bad habits do you think people need to solve?] Picking boo-boos.  You can cover it with a blanket and then scratch.  you can pinch it off, but you need two blankets for that–but I’m not letting people try that with my blankets.  That is gross. [Good idea.] Stinky Old Mom: As usual, Madeleine has some pretty sound advice for dealing with bad habits. Really, the trick is to not do them any more right? I recommend, not using a tactic that slows it down or eases you off.  Cold turkey!  This about why you don’t want to do [your habit] any more.  List all the reasons and keep the list with you.  What are your triggers for you habit? Make a list of those and keep it close.  Can you substitute something healthy for your habit? How can you deal more effectively with your triggers?  I’m also a fan of the snowball effect for making changes. Share this:RedditPinterestFacebookLinkedInTumblrTwitterGoogleEmailLike this:Like...

Ask Madeleine Vol. 17

Ask Madeleine Vol. 17

Nov 4, 2013

Need a fresh perspective? Ask Madeleine.  She’s four and has no problem telling you exactly what to do.  Send in your questions–comment below, use the contact link, post them on our Facebook page, or email us at advice @ wlbpa.org. What’s the most important equipment to have in an office?   Madeleine: A PHONE!!!  You have to make lots of calls.  You can also have pencils for writing.  I don’t know?  There’s a lot in an office. Stinky Old Mom: I guess it depends on the office!  I would say a computer is the priority, but a phone is important.  How many times do we send an e-mail where a phone call would have been the perfect touch?  Taking my daughter’s advice, I will pledge to make a few more calls this week instead of sending out e-mail after e-mail.  It may make all the difference in an ongoing work relationship!   How should I handle chronically late or absent employees?     Madeleine:  You put them on the absent list.  [OK.  How can you stop them from being absent and want to come to work instead?] I like being on time so I can be first and get stickers.  You can go to the treasure box. You can still go to the treasure box if you are late though. Stinky Old Mom: As an employer, you must address these issues before they become chronic.  Make immediate note of the absence/tardy and how the employee handled the situation.  Did the employee call to let you know or leave you in the lurch?  Make sure your employee knows you noticed the absence or tardiness after the FIRST time.  This is important.  A reprimand is not in order, especially if the employee handled it well, but it is important for your employee to know you notice him/her.  If you say nothing, especially when the person is late, it can come across as if you don’t care (that they are on time or that they are there at all). By the third time, you need to handle the tardy/absence as a performance issue.   A one-on-one is in order.  Chronic tardies/absenteeism can be a sign of serious personal issues....

Ask Madeleine Vol. 16: Telecommuting and Solving Conflict

Ask Madeleine Vol. 16: Telecommuting and Solving Conflict

Oct 21, 2013

Need a fresh perspective? Ask Madeleine.  She’s four and has no problem telling you exactly what to do.  Send in your questions–comment below, use the contact link, post them on our Facebook page, or email us at advice @ wlbpa.org. What’s the best way to get telecommuters to work together on a project? Madeleine: Call them.  Or you can do texting. Stinky Old Mom: Currently, 20-30 million Americans work from home at least once a week.  Approximately 2.5% of the employee workforce (excluding self-employed) consider their home their primary workplace.  Although telecommuting can give you more time to handle your family life, 33% of telecommuters feel alienated and 35%  feel like they cannot make career connections. People who work from a distance have to battle being “out of sight, out of mind.”  It is important to grab opportunities to have face to face interaction and weekly check-in meetings.  “Water cooler” talk might slow down productivity, but it can really help build personal connections and a team mentality.  In addition to Madeleine’s fabulous recommendations, you can also employ video chats with Skype or Google Hangouts. Adding flexibility to your schedule or telecommuting a few days of the week can greatly increase work life balance satisfaction.  Read this article about how you can negotiate a flexible schedule for yourself. How should you handle a situation when two people are fighting over the same thing? Madeleine:  You take a deep breath and count to four.  Calm them down by putting your hands out like this [puts arms out to each side, palms facing out] and saying, “Calm down!”  If they are still fighting, I would take the toy away. But, if two ants were fighting over a peanut, you could just break the peanut in half. Stinky Old Mom:  She has a future in conflict resolution, what can I say?!  When it comes to conflict in the work place, Madeleine seems to understand one major aspect–the importance of dealing with calm individuals.  This can be a difficult task.  It is perfectly acceptable to ask both parties to get a control over their emotions, and begin/resume a meeting when all parties can speak calmly.  It is also acceptable...

Ask Madeleine Vol. 15: How to work faster and motivate people.

Ask Madeleine Vol. 15: How to work faster and motivate people.

Sep 30, 2013

Need a fresh perspective? Ask Madeleine.  She’s four and has no problem telling you exactly what to do.  Send in your questions–comment below, use the contact link, post them on our Facebook page, or email us at advice@wlbpa.org. Today, we are trying something different.  As Madeleine is getting on in her fourth year, she has been very vocal about when she wants to give advice and when she’s not in the mood.  I can definitely picture her saying, “Walk with me, people” as the CEO of some company.  She is really enjoying the idea of doing a “radio show” where she gets to answer questions and then hear it played back. In our first impromptu broadcast, Madeleine shares advice about working faster and motivating others.  Send in your questions for our next show! audioplease specify correct url Stinky Old Mom:  I thought I’d chime in on a couple of points.  First, working faster.  Sometimes, we are all looking deadlines in the face and we have to crank out results quickly.  How can we do this?  I read an article from Forbes about writing more quickly, but in it, the author notes “suspending critical thinking” as a major tactic for working faster.  This is true for all circumstances where you just have to get. things. done.  Too often it is our own judgmental mind that slows us down, whether it causes us to edit our writing unnecessarily or to nitpick over nonessential details.  Suspending the level of criticism we normally allow ourselves helps us have a smoother thought process, faster production, more creativity, and less conflict.  Once the work has been produced, the critical eye can look things over for tweaks. Second, I like the idea of motivating your co-workers very much.  Too often, people go unappreciated at work.  This causes big issues in the workforce (and I think it is an easy fix).  Some people will retire sooner than they will see/hear recognition from their boss!  But the truth is, you don’t work with your boss that often–you work with your co-workers.  They are the ones you see, need to work closely with, and need to rely on in order to accomplish your job....

Ask Madeleine Vol.14

Ask Madeleine Vol.14

Sep 16, 2013

Need a fresh perspective? Ask Madeleine.  She’s four and has no problem telling you exactly what to do.  Send in your questions–comment below, use the contact link, or post them on our Facebook page. How can I relax more behind the wheel? I get road rage. Madeleine:  Honk your horn. You feel better.  Honk, honk, honk!!  You can scream. [That helps you relax?] Yes. Say, “Why did you do that to me?!!” People will move, move, move. Stinky Old Mom: I’m immediately concerned that she has learned this from me!  Also, I’m concerned she thinks this is normal “calm” driving.  Although, I will say, there is something cathartic about honking and yelling..it is not the answer.  After reading this article, I felt a tad bit better.  At least I’m not the only one out there who has to earn to demonstrate more control around little ears! Edmunds gives ten tips for helping end the anger.  These are my favorites: get enough sleep, make sure you have enough time, turn down the music, loosen up and breathe, hostility is toxic.  You can also take this test to see your level of aggressiveness behind the wheel.  Our little ones are listening. Let’s show them we can handle the road without acting like crazy people.  Maybe they can be better than us in about 16 years.   What can you do if you have a long commute? Madeleine:  I would drive a mini-car. Pink painted all over it.  Or you can not use a car; you can use an air plane and go faster. Stinky Old Mom:  The first step to dealing with a long commute is accepting all the decisions that you made that resulted in the long commute.  There is a reason you chose to commute in the first place.  Next, use the time for reflection, mindfulness, kindness, ore self-improvement.  Listen to new music or use the time for an audio book.  The point is, a long commute doesn’t seem as bad if you are taking advantage of that time.  For me, I have to really make sure I focus on a positive practice (and purposely put myself in the right frame of mind) in...

Ask Madeleine Vol. 13

Ask Madeleine Vol. 13

Aug 26, 2013

If you haven’t checked it out before, Madeleine is my just-turned-4-year-old daughter.  She loves answering your questions, and these are her REAL answers in her own words.  Submit your questions on our FB page. Send them in using the “contact” button.  Whatever works! I’m having a hard time getting up in the morning. What should I do so I’m not late for work? Madeleine: Get an alarm clock. Stinky Old Mom: Get an alarm clock.  She’s on to something with this one… If you are still having trouble, take a look at the quality of your sleep: mattress comfort, breathing issues, adequate level of darkness.  Make adjustments where necessary, such as going to bed earlier or adding melatonin to your diet to help you stay asleep. Lack of sleep is associated with all kinds of issues from diabetes to depression.  If this problem persists, a sleep study might be in order.  I’m actually thinking about getting one myself… On the other hand, if this is really just about responding to an alarm–you heavy sleeper you–try a different kind of alarm clock.  This list of 10 serious wake-up calls includes one that makes you “work out” in order to turn it off.  Yikes. What should I do if my friends are all doing things I really want to do, but know I shouldn’t do? Madeleine: Why shouldn’t you do them? [Maybe they are bad for the person, or dangerous?] You have to find your own answers. Stinky Old Mom: She’s right on this.  Soul searching is in order, my friend.  Here’s  a great post I came across about saying “no” to temptation and distraction.  The article cites scientific studies that reveal the best ways to avoid getting pulled in to vices.  The first technique is as simple as changing a few words.  Instead of saying, “I can’t have/do xyz,” try saying “I don’t…”  Saying “don’t” is actually reaffirming the belief in your own mind, while you are saying no.  “I don’t drink soda,” for example, is its own affirmation. It is also much more definitive and leaves less room for negotiation. We are going on vacation this Labor Day.  What are your top three must-have items to pack? Madeleine: A...

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