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Let Your PDA Work For You by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

This morning I was babysitting a friend’s son.  With three toddlers in the house, you might assume that any chance of productivity was out the window.  I did, until I switched on my PDA to assess my options for nap time.  As I perused my To Do list, I noticed a phone call I needed to make and decided to give it a try.  With the kids happily playing at my feet, I cranked the volume up on my cell and went for it.  Mission complete, check. 

 

Counting my blessings, I wondered if I could pull it off again.  I returned to the To Do list, this time sorting by the phone call category.  Two more phone calls to make.  Dare I push my luck?  I went for the glory and it paid off big, check, check.  My PDA helps me make quick decisions on how I can most productively use my time. Here are a few tips on making your PDA work for you:Buntstifte

 

To Do List

 

Store your To Do list on your PDA, link up any important contact info you may need so everything is at your fingertips when you are ready for it.  Categorize similar action items, so you can easily complete multiple tasks while you have the resources readily available.

 

Date Book

 

Use the date book to schedule appointments and set aside time for routine tasks.  View your date book with the To Do list, and you can quickly plan your day.  No more erasing or scratching out required, reschedule items by dragging and dropping them into a new time slot.

 

Contact Info

 

Keep all your contacts at your fingertips by storing them in your PDA.  Quickly find any address or phone number when you need it.

 

Synchronization

 

Your PDA’s synchronization capability is easily one of its best features.  Back your PDA up onto your computer, and you can rest assured that you won’t lose vital information.

 

Email

 

Many PDAs come equipped with emailing capabilities.  Load email onto your PDA, and you can read and respond to messages while you are out and about.

 

Expense Tracking

 

Keep track of your expenses and budget while you are out.  Easy access to your financial planning info will help you make informed decisions about how much to spend, and prevent you from forgetting to write it down later.

 

Notes

 

Save paper by taking notes in your PDA.  You can store the notes on your computer later, and keep your purse or brief case from becoming cluttered and heavy.

 

Software

 

There is a plethora of software available for PDAs.  Pocketgear.com has a nice selection of business and fun applications, many of which are free to download.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

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Help, Please! An Interview with Networking Guru Lucy Rosen by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 I caught up with Lucy Rosen, president and founding member of Women on the Fast Track, an international networking organization for business women.  Here’s what Lucy had to say:

 

What are the benefits to networking? How many words do I get? New relationships. Opportunities for new opportunities. Opportunities to connect others. Opportunities for jobs / information / resources, but I think the biggest one is the opportunity to help others.Gardening tools

 

What networking advice has benefited your career?  Everyone has value. It may not be a good fit for you, but that doesn’t mean to write them off.  It means file them away to refer them to someone else!

 

Where can a woman find networking opportunities?  Local clubs, organizations, associations, online, at schools, alumni groups, other mothers, other women, newspapers, radio, and magazines. Virtually every daily paper has a business section and usually it appears on Mondays. In that section would be a list of all the networking “things” happening in and around your community.

 

What advice do you have for women who want to network, but feel shy or uncomfortable?  Most of the time we feel shy or uncomfortable because we think we don’t have anything to give. We are the “givers” not the receivers- so it’s much more comfortable for us to give than to receive. If there is a feeling of not having much of worth to give – start making a list of all the different people you know – from your neighbor, to the woman on the PTA you met, to the different jobs you have had and who you know from there. I reconnected with someone from high school that I hadn’t seen in 30 (gulp) years… She was looking for a job in accounting, and I happened to know an accounting firm that was looking to hire – so there you go! It worked.
How can a business woman start a networking group in her area?  They can call me and I will help them start Women on the Fast Track chapter!

You can find out more about Lucy Rosen and Women on the Fast Track by visiting her website at www.womenonthefasttrack.com.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Make the Switch: How to Change Careers by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 I made the switch to a work-at-home career, and so can you.  Here are a few easy steps to get you started on the path to a new career:Yellow field

 

Assess Your Skills

 

If your primary focus is the ability to work out of your home, you’ll need to know which of the skills you have will be most helpful when you make the switch.  There are many skills that are useful across a variety of industries, including many work-at-home careers.  Consider not only what you are good at, but also what you enjoy.  Here are a few skills common to many work-at-home positions:

 

l       Computer Skills

l       Customer Service Skills

l       Project Management Skills

l       Communication Skills

l       Research Skills

l       Accounting / Business Finance Skills

 

Choose a Career Path

 

Now that you’ve pinpointed which skills you already have and which you most enjoy, it’s time to decide on a direction.  There may be more options than you realize for work-at-home mothers.  Here is a short list to get you started: 

 

l       Executive Assistant

l       Graphic Designer

l       Web Designer

l       Research Assistant

l       Marketing / Public Relations Consultant

l       Bookkeeping and Accounting

 

Gaining Experience

 

Depending on the career path you chose, you may need additional schooling or certification.  Check for professional organizations within your industry.  They are a great source for volunteer and network opportunities, and may help you assess which certifications will be most beneficial to you.

 

One of the greatest challenges posed when switching careers is the sudden lack of experience.  It can be hard starting over again, especially in a market that seems interested only in seasoned professionals.  Test run your new career by volunteering your time to a friend, or a nonprofit organization.  Offer your services free of charge and put in your best effort.  You’ll gain experience and professional references, all while helping out a worthy cause.

 

Don’t Give Up

 

Switching careers is exciting, but it is also difficult.  Remember, it takes time to build a career.  The rewards are great when you are willing to give it everything you’ve got. 

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Picture Perfect: How I Overcame the Perfectionist in Me by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

What could be more discouraging than expecting the impossible?  Most of us would agree that it would be unreasonable to ask an infant to put the toilet seat down when he is done, yet we hold ourselves to equally absurd standards.  We expect the impossible of ourselves when we equate success with perfection.

 

I love art, now.  Drawing, painting, or just crafting in general are a source of great personal joy and quality time with my children.  When I was a child, art wasn’t on my list of favorite subjects.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like the process of coloring or enjoy the visual feast of a gallery, I just found it difficult to be excellent at creating a piece of artwork.  Math, science, spelling, history, those were the subjects for me.  There was only one way to do it – the right way. swing

 

Thankfully, while in college I became determined to overcome this mindset.  One day while I sat on the back porch enjoying the afternoon sun, I began sketching from a picture in a history book.  It was a portrait of a Native American man in a full headdress.  His eyes were serious, his face marked with the lines of old age, and a challenge to sketch to say the least.  I wore the eraser thin and became increasingly frustrated with my inability to transfer the image to my sketch pad.

 

Then, in a stroke of rare genius, I decided that I was just going to let it be wrong.  I watched in amazement as the portrait unfolded.  The eyes, though imperfect carried the same grave sense of humanity that first inspired me.  I can confidently say that the resulting sketch is still my best, and is complimented regularly by the budding young artist in my family. 

 

Fine art hanging on your wall isn’t the only benefit to letting go of the little things.  Here are a few more advantages to embracing the imperfect in our daily routine:

 

– Less stress

 

– Extra time with family

 

– More confidence

 

        Freedom to be yourself

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Title: In Good Company – Finding the Time to Relax with Friends by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

I have a group of girlfriends I’ve known since high school.  We used to go out on the town together, but now that we are all busy working moms, we’ve become lunch buddies.  We gather around a picnic table with sack lunches and kids in tow every Friday afternoon.  Friday is ladies lunch out.  How I look forward to Fridays.Color caps and gerbera

 

Ladies lunch out has become a lifeline full of laughter and fun for all of us.  We enjoy the food and fresh air.  Our kids run and play together, while the mommy crowd catches up with the ins and outs of  daily life.  I always return home refreshed with my children ready for a long nap.

 

I’m fortunate to have close friends nearby and available during the week.  If that’s not the case in your situation, there are other opportunities available to help take the edge off of work-at-home isolation. If you have kids in the house, check for a local moms club.  Moms Club International has over 2,000 chapters in the US.  There is a small annual fee to join, but it is well worth the investment.  My local chapter has been a great source of support.  You can find them on the web at www.momsclub.org.

 

Book clubs are great, if you enjoy reading.  Between the trips to the library or bookstore, and the meetings themselves, you’ll have plenty of excuses to get out of the house.  I recommend finding a casual club, so you won’t feel pressured to finish the book.  The goal here is relaxation, so leave the stress in the office.

 

If you like to exercise a membership to a local gym is a fantastic way to reduce stress, stay healthy and meet new people.  The club I attend is very flexible.  I enjoy the company of the women in my classes, and there are classes available just about anytime you could imagine.  No matter what you choose to do, get out and socialize on a regular basis.  It is sure to leave you happier and more productive in the long run. 

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

End the Clutter Crisis Today by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

Today’s clutter, as unassuming as it may seem, is tomorrow’s crisis waiting to happen.  Be it a misplaced phone number, unpaid bill, or botched assignment, there is little worse than a headache that could have been prevented.  Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a clutter-free workspace.  planning-ahead

 

Schedule It

 

Set aside time each day to take care of paperwork, such as opening incoming mail, refiling documents, and shredding items that contain personal information.  These tasks quickly fall through the cracks of a busy day, and leave behind telltale piles of paper throughout your home office.

 

Take Action

 

Taking immediate action on open items will prevent paper, and stress, from piling up on you.  If you are unable to complete a task immediately, record it in your To Do list along with a due date.  Create a Pending file for items that require further action.  Note any actions you have taken in the file, then schedule some time in the future to follow up.

 

Go Paperless

 

Store anything possible on your computer.  A scanner is handy for filing documents electronically.  Organizing data files into folders makes it easy to retrieve what you need, when you need it.  Gone are the days of the sticky note.  A PDA is a handy way to jot down any important information, not to mention schedule appointments, track your expenses, and store your To Do list.  Be sure to back up your PDA and your computer regularly.

 

Start Small

 

Set small, reasonable goals, then schedule a few minutes a day to achieve them.  Try cleaning out one file drawer at a time, or clear out your inbox.  If it’s not useful, throw it out.  If you feel uncertain about tossing something, store it in a box and label it to be thrown out at a later date.  If you still haven’t used the item by the date on the box, it’s not likely you will need it again.  Taking small incremental steps will keep things moving in the right direction, off of your desk and out of the way. 

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

In Good Company – Finding the Time to Relax with Friends by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 I have a group of girlfriends I’ve known since high school.  We used to go out on the town together, but now that we are all busy working moms, we’ve become lunch buddies.  We gather around a picnic table with sack lunches and kids in tow every Friday afternoon.  Friday is ladies lunch out.  How I look forward to Fridays.Color caps and gerbera

Ladies lunch out has become a lifeline full of laughter and fun for all of us.  We enjoy the food and fresh air.  Our kids run and play together, while the mommy crowd catches up with the ins and outs of  daily life.  I always return home refreshed with my children ready for a long nap.

I’m fortunate to have close friends nearby and available during the week.  If that’s not the case in your situation, there are other opportunities available to help take the edge off of work-at-home isolation. If you have kids in the house, check for a local moms club.  Moms Club International has over 2,000 chapters in the US.  There is a small annual fee to join, but it is well worth the investment.  My local chapter has been a great source of support.  You can find them on the web at www.momsclub.org.

Book clubs are great, if you enjoy reading.  Between the trips to the library or bookstore, and the meetings themselves, you’ll have plenty of excuses to get out of the house.  I recommend finding a casual club, so you won’t feel pressured to finish the book.  The goal here is relaxation, so leave the stress in the office.

If you like to exercise a membership to a local gym is a fantastic way to reduce stress, stay healthy and meet new people.  The club I attend is very flexible.  I enjoy the company of the women in my classes, and there are classes available just about anytime you could imagine.  No matter what you choose to do, get out and socialize on a regular basis.  It is sure to leave you happier and more productive in the long run. 

www.sandrabeck.com
www.motherhoodincorporated.com