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Work Life Blending: A working mother’s story

- May 10, 2012 11:46 am

As Mothers Day approaches it reminds me how lucky I am to work for a company that provides me the flexibility of “Work Life Blending.”

The phrase “Work Life Blending” is often used by Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale to describe the new work environment. Any working parent knows there is no such thing as a “Work Life Balance,” but rather only ones ability to manage the chaos. Juggling skills help too!

Today, I left the office early to catch my daughter’s final school soccer game. Standing on the sidelines I was able to check emails, approve a document, and send a personal reminder to myself. I could have been at a doctor’s appointment, recital or even attending an appointment with an aging parent. The hardest part about productivity tools is remembering to be present when you are with the ones you love.  Luckily, children are the best form of policing!

You might wonder how Cisco helps me be more productive at work while still helping me keep my favourite title “Wife and Mother of Two.”  It is the little things that I don’t even think about anymore.  I am provided the tools to work remotely, from home or in the office – really anywhere, anytime and on any device.  Over 50 per cent of my work is done off-site and off working hours.

There will never be more hours in the day for a working parent, but there are a few tools to make them more productive. As a working parent my ability to recall has diminished. I need to write things down but often they end up scrunched up at the bottom of my purse. I am by no means a leading edge technologist and my advice is to adjust gradually to productivity tools. Below are tools and websites I have found useful to manage the chaos!

Khan Academy – The best website if you want to help your kids with their math homework. Where was this when I was growing up? It is library of over 3,000 videos that cover K-12 math and science. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer. The Credit Crisis Video is very interesting.  And you can practice the skills at your own pace.

Istudiez Pro – This is a great app for students to keep organized.  Teach them young!

Evernote – Essentially a project management tool for your life, Evernote is an easily accessible, free Web-based tool that can help you manage work and personal commitments. As a working mom, I love the virtual “sticky notes” that I can access anywhere. The free app also allows you to record audio “reminders” to yourself from anywhere.

Siri – The popular iPhone 4 app features voice command and geo-location.  You can tell Siri to remind you to call the doctor when you get to your office.  It knows when you’ve reached your office and will send you a note.  (Very cool, but it will take me time to get comfortable with this technology)

I also appreciate those who market to me directly when I’m crunched for time:

Fisher and Company – I hate shopping, but I do like new clothes. Fisher and Company carry fashions for the working woman. When I can’t get to the store the owner sends me pictures of what I might like and if I do go to see her, they are guaranteed to have the outfit in the picture in my size.  No wasting time. 

I would love to hear what you think and if you have any ideas to share with working/juggling parents.

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