It’s Not Too Late: How to Rapidly Switch to a Remote and Flexible Workplace

Monday morning we woke up to additional states and cities announcing “shelter in place” and “stay home” mandates. That means this week even more organizations and employees find themselves working remotely and flexibly for the first time.

It’s not too late to take action. Leaders still have time to help their organizations make the remote and flexible workplace pivot. And, in doing so, maintain a level of operating continuity without unnecessarily jeopardizing their employees’ health during the evolving new normal of the coronavirus crisis.

They also avoid the risk of having to scramble at the last minute if forced to completely shut down in-person, non-essential operations at some point.

Here are ten basic, get-started steps to rapidly transition your organization. These steps are taken from four more comprehensive posts listed below if you want more details.

I also discussed five of the steps in this episode of the Disrupt Yourself podcast (episode and transcript) with disruption expert, Whitney Johnson.

To get started:

Map out Jobs and Tasks. Note which roles and duties:

1) Can be done, even partially, remotely,

2) Cannot be done, even somewhat, remotely, and

3) Not sure (experiment with these by starting remotely).

Divide Non-Remote Employees into A and B Teams: For jobs that cannot be done even partially remotely, AND if you are not under a “shelter-in-place” or “stay home” mandate yet, divide employees deemed ESSENTIAL to onsite operations into A and B teams.Spread parents across “A and B” teams and be creative with schedules to allow them to coordinate childcare.

Prioritize Use of Available IT Hardware and Software. Start with the tech most people know and can easily use. Keep it simple. Wait to explore adopting any new technology solutions until later.

Set up a Communications Protocol. Clarify how different constituents will communicate and when. Don’t be afraid to “interrupt” each other. Assume everyone is “working” unless otherwise indicated.

Redirect Work: Identify tasks/meetings that can be handled virtually without disruption and execute as many details as possible. Experiment where you aren’t sure.

Optimize Work: Fill extra time and capacity that opens up with important, backburner projects that never seemed to get done before (e.g. manuals updated, market research conducted, client lists reviewed), but can be completed virtually.

Continually Prioritize and Check-in (Even If It Feels Like Micro-Managing): Set a schedule for formal one-on-one and team updates. During these check-ins, continually review and prioritize what matters. Leave space for some personal community-building.

Shift Your Productivity Mindset: This is not business as usual. It’s an immediate crisis with very real challenges to address. Adjust your productivity expectations accordingly. SOME productivity is better than NO productivity right now. Keep the flywheel going and people contributing as much as possible especially as everyone gets their bearings in this new temporary normal.

Accept Imperfect Remote Workspaces and Practices: Encourage people to be accessible and responsive during this crisis transition, even with dogs, kids, and roommates in the background.

Capture Real-time Learning and Insights: Each week, check-in and capture what’s happening. These insights can guide the ongoing reimagining of how, when and where work can be done through each phase of the crisis and beyond.

More details regarding the above steps can be found in the following posts:

What’s Your Company’s Remote Work Plan? (HBR)

Tips for Leading Organizations New to Remote and Flexible Work (LinkedIn)

How to Work and Take Care of 32 Million Children (LinkedIn)

A/B Teams: Flexible Schedules and Locations When Remote Work Isn’t an Option (LinkedIn)

How to Work and Take Care of 32 Million Children

Parents across the U.S. and their employers woke up this morning with a new and daunting reality — how to work, care for and educate the estimated 32 million children who may be home from school for the foreseeable future. Here are a few tips to help leaders and parents partner to flexibly fit work, life, school, and family together:

Shift Your Productivity Mindset:  The goal is not to maintain pre-coronavirus levels of productivity. It’s about keeping everyone safe and healthy while maintaining as much productivity as possible as we all adapt to this new, ever-changing normal. The key is to be as creative and supportive as possible. If there was ever a moment to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, now is that time. Keep repeating: SOME productivity is better than NO productivity.

Talk Honestly and Be Patient:  Typically, bosses and employees don’t want or need to get into the nitty-gritty of how someone is going to work and take care of their kids. But these are not typical times. Keep the lines of communication open especially as parents settle into some sort of new routine with caregiving and home instruction. Managers, a little bit of extra support and understanding may be the difference between a worker who finds a way to keep contributing and one who throws up their hands and says, “I can’t do this.”

Expect and Embrace Imperfect Remote Workspaces: Effective remote working usually requires a separate workspace with limited disruptions from children, pets, and partners. That is an unrealistic and unnecessary expectation during this period when employees and kids were sent home to remote work and learn with little time to plan. The goal now is for people to feel they can be as responsive and accessible as possible, even if the environment is not absolutely perfect. If everyone—bosses, coworkers, and customers–can forgive a screaming child, barking dog, or the hum of a video game in the background, it will allow everyone to sustain a higher level of communication that would otherwise stop.

Spread Parents Across “A and B” Teams and Be Creative with Schedules:  For jobs that have certain tasks that cannot be done remotely, companies have started to use an “A and B Team” system to limit the number of people together in the same physical space. For those that have or are planning to do so, consider the following:

  • Assign employees who are parents evenly on both teams
  • Allow parents to stagger their start and stop times to coordinate care with partners and other support resources. Allow them to arrive and leave earlier or arrive and leave later as needed.

Hire College Students Available to Help: With two daughters sent home from college for online classes, I know there are millions of higher ed students that will have plenty of time in between classes for activities requiring limited social interaction. Now, there are public safety caveats given current CDC guidelines regarding social distancing. That’s why I say “will have” time. Many college students will not go back to school until fall. Use your judgment and listen to the public health authorities; however, after the period of strict social distancing and personal quarantine periods have passed, we will have millions of smart, motivated young people who could not only help care for kids while parents work but could also lead home instruction.

We have entered an unprecedented work and life reality. By shifting mindsets, changing expectations and re-imagining how, when and where work is done, we can mitigate the coronavirus, care for and educate our kids and stay open for business.

If you are a leader, how are you partnering with your working parent employees? If you are a working parent, what has been your experience so far? What’s worked and what hasn’t? What would help you?

A/B Teams: Flex Schedules and Locations When Remote Work Isn’t an Option

How do you implement a flexible work crisis plan that keeps everyone healthy, safe and as productive as possible during a very challenging period when remote work isn’t an option for certain jobs or organizations?

“Flexing” where people work is getting the most airtime and attention, but flexing when and how people can work together is another option to consider. 

The key is to social distance by controlling the number of people in one space at one time while maintaining at least some level of operating continuity.

One way to do this is to divide employees deemed ESSENTIAL to onsite operations and cannot work remotely into A and B teams. Schedule the teams to limit the exposure of the whole group to the coronavirus and then ensure the workspaces are cleaned daily. Here’s an example:

  • Week 1—Team A: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Week 1—Team B: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Add Sat if want to add productivity hours, if needed)
  • Week 2—Team A: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • Week 2—Team B: Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Employees must stick to the teams to which they are assigned to limit exposure. That’s a mandate. To support employees with school-age children at home, divide parents across teams and allow them to shift their start and stop schedules to coordinate caregiving needs.

Productivity—Maintaining as Much as Realistically Possible in a Crisis Period

The reality is when a team that is essential to onsite operations is divided in half and works three-day weeks, productivity will decrease approximately 40 percent per week if employees typically work an eight-hour day.

To address this, some organizations have added Saturdays and/or extended workdays to 10 hours to make up for lost productivity. This still totals 30 hours a week. For this to work, leaders need to make peace with the fact that by switching to A and B teams they’ve kept their people safe while maintaining as much productivity as possible during the crisis period.

Keeping Everyone “Whole” 

How will pay be affected for those A and B team members? Some organizations have found creative ways for employees to use the extra hours to complete tasks that can be done remotely such as updating procedures, cross-training, and continuing education.

Some employers, that are able, are continuing to pay full salaries during this crisis regardless of the hours worked, while others that can’t are decreasing pay proportionally to avoid layoffs and to continue providing at least a percentage of an employee’s salary. (Hopefully, legislation currently under consideration will help with this gap).

There Are More Options than Remote Working 

Everyone is doing their best to rapidly reimagine the way work is done under very difficult, rapidly changing circumstances. There is no right or wrong answer.

It’s about what works best right now; however, the use of A and B teams to creatively schedule when and how your people work is another possible way of continuing to operate if remote work isn’t possible for certain jobs or organizations.

Caution: Some organizations may be using A and B teams as their primary flexible work crisis strategy, even though, if you look closely many of the jobs do not require onsite presence and could be done remotely, at least in part. The reason seems to be that on some level it’s easier than switching everyone over to working remotely. The problem with that is:

  • You are unnecessarily exposing people who don’t need to be exposed to each other and
  • You run the risk that should even more restrictive limits on gatherings be issued, you will be caught scrambling to get remote work up and running under even more challenging circumstances.

Have you or your organization implemented A and B teams as part of your flexible work crisis management strategy? What did you do? How is it working?

3 Reasons Every Extrovert Should Read the New Book “Quiet”

I am an extrovert. Give me a room full of people to meet and talk to for hours, and I’m in heaven. So why am I such a big fan of the new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Crown, 2012) by Susan Cain?

Like many extroverts, I was surprised to learn that anywhere from one-third to one-half of the population are introverts. In other words, a lot of people we come into contact with everyday don’t thrive on endless meetings, don’t want to solve a problem by talking about it with a group for hours, don’t enjoy jumping into a conversation and just “throwing out ideas,” and don’t want to attend lunches, conferences, and dinners all the time.

These activities are like a shot of adrenaline for extroverts. But they suck the energy right out of our more introverted counterparts.  That doesn’t mean extroverts are wrong and introverts are right. Cain is a big fan of extroverts, as you will see in the book.

It’s about awareness. If extroverts better understood our more introverted friends, colleagues and family members, it would make our lives better in the following ways:

Communication with others would improve. Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re in a meeting with a group of people. Everyone is sharing their thoughts and opinions freely, except for a couple of people who are quietly listening.

Chances are the extroverts in the room assume those individuals are being quiet because they don’t have anything to add. But after the meeting, you run into one of the listeners in the hall and they comment, “You know we should really consider doing x, y, z.”  And you say, “What a great idea! Why didn’t you share that in the meeting?” And they respond with a hint of frustration, “It was hard to get a word in edgewise.”

Knowing that introverts tend to like to listen, gather their thoughts, and then share their insights uninterrupted, extroverts could make it a point to pause discussions periodically, and ask, “Does anyone have something to add?” And then wait a moment for a response. This would give those who are more introverted the space they need to contribute comfortably.

If we understood how each of our “types” processed and shared information, we’d communicate better with each other at work, at home, and in our communities.

We would be better parents and partners.  I may be an extrovert, but I’ve always been attracted to the strong, silent type. It’s not surprising that my wonderful husband of more than 20 years is more introverted.

After a long day at work, he just needs some space; therefore, I wait to barrage him with questions and stories of my day. Or when we spend time with my extended (and more extroverted) family and he disappears after a certain point, I know he’s gone to find some quiet place to just sit and regroup. I understand why and don’t take it personally.

In terms of parenting, it was an exchange with my older daughter six years ago that first prompted me to understand the difference between the two types.

She was in second grade and I had volunteered for playground duty. I had been stationed far away from the playground by the door into the school. Next to that door was a basketball hoop where my daughter stood shooting baskets alone. I asked her, “Don’t you want to go play with your friends?” She responded calmly, “No, that’s OK; I want to be with you. I shoot baskets here by myself all the time.”

My uneducated, extroverted first response was, “What? Why do you do that, honey? Go up a play with your friends. I’ll be fine and it’s more fun to play with everyone.” She looked confused, “But Mom, I like to shoot baskets alone.” Yikes! I could see that I had unintentionally made her feel bad, and I realized in that moment she wasn’t like me.

Like her dad, she needed time to herself after a busy, intense morning in the classroom. I had to recognize that and support her, even though all I’d want to do is dive into a big group of screaming, laughing friends. Today she’s a super confident, happy young woman with friends whom she loves and who love her, but she still needs her breaks. That’s OK.

Cain’s book offers more extroverted parents and partners a helpful roadmap for understanding and honoring their more introverted loved ones. It has really helped me.

We could benefit from adopting more introverted behaviors, especially quiet time and listening. About twenty years ago, I started to suffer from the physical wear and tear of my high-intensity, highly extroverted, always-on-the-go existence. My mother was an introvert (I get my extroversion from my grandfather) and practiced meditation religiously. She suggested that I try to be quiet for a few minutes each day. Because I’d exhausted all of the medical options for treating my symptoms, I gave it a shot. It’s was a miracle.

Twenty minutes a day of sitting quietly, journaling, breathing, made all the difference physically, emotionally, spiritually. Introverts tend to stop and regroup naturally because they crave it. We extroverts have to be more thoughtful and deliberate about our down time, but we benefit from it just as much.

Introverts are also excellent, natural listeners. My husband can go to a party, talk to just a few people, but gather information that I hadn’t heard even though I’d talked to everyone. I’ll ask him how he does it and the answer is always the same, “I stopped talking, paid attention, and listened.”

While my natural inclination remains to say “hi” to and know as many people in a room as possible, I catch myself periodically. I try to spend more one-on-one time with fewer people and I make myself stop talking (if I remember) long enough to listen more. I’ll never be like my husband, but I enjoy experimenting with aspects of his style.

What do you think? Are you an extrovert who has benefited from understanding the gifts and behaviors of your more introverted friends, colleagues and family members? What have you done differently once you gained that awareness?

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Crown, 2012) is a wonderful guide to help us all understand ourselves and each other more fully.  Here’s how you can learn more and connect with Susan Cain:

(This post originally appeared in Fast Company)

How To Uncover Blind Spots When Mapping Your Career Path

(This post originally appeared in FastCompany.)

Do you ever read career advice, especially for new entrants into the job market, and feel like the important qualifiers, “Yes, but…” and “So…” are too often missing? For example, “Yes, do what you love. It may translate into money, but not always or it may take a long time. So what can you do to avoid going broke…?”

Author Alexandra Levit agrees. In her thought-provoking new book Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, she reintroduces the long-absent and important, “Yes, but…” and “So…” to some of today’s most common career beliefs.

Some of the blind spots that Levit highlights in her book include:

  • Yes, overnight success might happen to the rare person, BUT more likely it will take years of mastery and resilience. SO, here’s how to get started and to deal with inevitable setbacks.
  • Yes, employers recognize and hire you for your unique skills and experiences, BUT they also have an organization to run with rules and guidelines that have to be followed. SO, how do you function professionally and diplomatically in the workplace.
  • Yes, it’s important to perform in order to earn more money, BUT performance isn’t the only factor in determining pay. SO, learn to understand how performance, business realities, HR mandates, and office politics all impact how much you are paid.

And, as an accidental entrepreneur who knows how much work it takes to create, run and grow a successful business, this is my favorite:

  • Yes, leaving corporate America and starting your own business can be the right option for some people, BUT it’s harder than it looks and is not for everyone. SO, how can you evaluate the many often hidden benefits of working for someone else versus entrepreneurship?

I worry that without these well placed reality checks people both miss opportunities and undermine their long-term success. For me, it happened my sophomore year of college. My father responded to the news that I was going to be an English major and become a writer with, “Yes, but…you also want to move away from central Pennsylvania and live with your friends in New York City after graduation. So, you better find a major that will get you a job with a good starting salary and benefits.” That led to my double major in Economics and English and the discovery that I also love business. And today I write books, articles, and blog posts about my work, creating more flexible work environments and helping people use that flexibility to manage their work and life balance.

I’ll confess that it felt good to show my father my first book contract and relish in a moment of, “Ha, I told you so” satisfaction. But then I had to admit to myself (and to him) that moving to New York after college, finding work that I love and being able to write about it wouldn’t have happened if my father hadn’t inserted a valid, albeit painful, dose of reality into my early career decisions. Hopefully, Levit’s book will do the same for others.

What were some of the helpful, and perhaps painful, “Yes, but…” and “So…” qualifiers that helped you along your career path?

For more from Alexandra Levit:

· Buy her book Blind Spots.

· Check out her blog.

I also invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost.

Work+Life Flexibility “How to” in Pictures: #3 Focus on fact that same flexibility keeps business open in snowstorm, cares for aging parents (and more)

AND, more specifically….

Work+Life Flex “How to” in Pictures: #1 Don’t get stuck on innovation curve

Work+Life Flex “How to” in Pictures: #2 Change requires employee+employer partnership (some gov’t) and shift in broader cultural conversation

Work+Life Flex “How to” in Pictures: #4 Making it real takes more than traditional policy, toolkit and training

Work+Life Flexibility “How to” in Pictures: #1 Don’t get stuck on innovation curve

Work+Life Flex “How to” in Pictures: #2 Change requires employee+employer partnership (some gov’t) and shift in broader cultural conversation

Work+Life Flex “How to” in Pictures: #3 Focus on fact that same flexibility keep business open in snowstorm, cares for aging parents (and more)

Work+Life Flex “How to” in Pictures: #4 Making it real takes more than traditional policy, toolkit and training

How Employers Can Love (or Stop Hating) Maternity Leaves

Last week, The New York Times included a quote from me in a great article, “Taking a Positive Approach to an Employee’s Maternity Leave.” Because this is an important topic that many employers struggle with, here are a couple of the key points from the article I wanted to highlight and expand upon:

Of all of the inevitable work+life realities a workforce will experience, maternity should be the least feared.   Unlike illness, accidents, eldercare or spouse relocation, you can plan for it in advance.

Every small business owner should take note of how effectively and proactively the leaders in the article addressed the work+life issues of their employees.  Unfortunately, this is still unusual.  From my experience, most employers refuse to acknowledge and build into their day-to-day operating model contingencies for dealing with the intersections between work and other parts of life even though they are inevitable.  Everyone has a personal life.  Everyone.  Not just women who become mothers.

I’m always baffled by the panic of these same in-denial business owners every time someone becomes pregnant, takes care of a sick parent, has a heart attack, or stays home because of their child’s snow day.  By facing the reality that work+life conflict is a business issue, they’d create a culture that encouraged an open, ongoing, problem-solving dialogue about how to flexibly manage and adapt.  Everything would run so much more smoothly.

Whereas eldercare, illness, accidents, swine flu and snowstorms are usually unexpected, in most cases maternity gives you months to plan!  As the article shows, companies benefit from an open dialogue even if a new mother decides not to come back to work or returns on a part-time basis.  And it’s important to note that new mothers aren’t the only ones who may choose not to come back to work or who would be helped by a phased return after a work+life challenge.  People with elder care responsibilities, a long illness or accident can also benefit.

Prepare employees with the skills and tools to create a solution-oriented plan.

The article does a good job emphasizing the need for employees to start the conversation by thinking through an initial solution (for a contrasting example of what can go very wrong when an owner/manager tries to figure out the right answer for a pregnant employee, click here).

But knowing how to create and present a well thought out plan is a skill set.  Most employees need to be shown “how.”

A step-by-step process for developing a win-win flexibility plan is outlined in my book “Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You” and is a great place to start (excerpted in the Work+Life Fit in 5 Days blog series).  In fact one of the reasons I wrote the book five years ago was to give small business owners a resource to help their employees create win-win flexible work+life fit solutions.

A one-size-fits-all, across-the-board “policy” related to how maternity or any other work+life reality will be addressed doesn’t work.  BUT, it is a good idea to have a consistent process in place to which everyone has equal access.

This consistent process should outline the unique circumstances of an individual employee’s job and life that they should consider to determine the solution that will work for them personally and for the business.  Even though the outcomes will vary, a clear process maintains consistency by virtue of the fact that everyone had access to the same approach and parameters.   Again, check out the work+life fit process in my book to get started.

What do you think?  How do we get more companies of all sizes to come out of denial and face the fact that work+life realities are just part of their day-to-day operating reality that they need to plan for?  And how do we get them to embrace an ongoing, process-based, solution-oriented flexible response?

Check It Out! Virtual Negotiations Workshop for Women…I’ll be there.

I wanted to share the following information about a virtual negotiations workshop for women that I’m participating in…join me if you need a refresher on how to negotiate what you want and what you are worth!  Scroll down and comment for some free stuff…

Did you know?…that women’s failure to negotiate working conditions, salary or other compensation—along with their hesitancy to seek what they’re worth when they do negotiate—is one of the major reasons for the persistent wage gap for women in all work-related activities?

Did you know?...statistics show that women stand to lose up to $1.2 million over the course of their career by failing to negotiate their first job out of college?

Did you know?…that women simply don’t ask?

Are you ready for a breakthrough in asking for what you want and getting what you’re worth?

She Negotiates is a 4-week virtual learning and journaling course that examines the way you value yourself, your services, your salary, your bonuses and your products, and gives you the tools necessary to recalibrate your market value. The course takes place in the Craving Balance Learning Community (it’s free to join) where you will learn the basics of both distributive and interest-based negotiation strategies, and explore the primary tactics used to negotiate the best deals for yourselves, your clients and your family.

You’ll be coached by attorney-mediator and negotiation trainer Victoria Pynchon and life-balance specialist Lisa Gates. Both Victoria and Lisa will comment and coach you on your homework and journal entries to help you perfect the negotiation techniques taught during the course.

The course also includes one live practicum teleconference per week to role play, answer questions and model the most efficient negotiation and persuasion techniques now being used by the best business schools in the country.


  1. The first woman to write a comment on this post starting with the words, “I negotiate…” will get the course, She Negotiates, for free. ($375 value.)
  2. The second woman to write a comment on this post starting with the words, “I negotiate…” will get the course, She Negotiates, for 1/2 price. ($187.50 value).
  3. The third, fourth and fifth women write a comment on this post starting with the words, “I negotiate…” will receive a copy of Victoria Pynchon’s book, A is for !@#hole: The Grownup’s ABCs of Conflict Resolution, which is scheduled for release in July. Please be sure to include your email address. (Priceless value!)

Course Dates:

June 1 through June 30.

Do the work on your own time and schedule.

Practicum calls: June 8, 15, 22, 29 at 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST

All calls recorded so if you have to miss a call, you won’t miss a call!

“What Do You Want?” The Smallest, Hardest Question—Creating Your Vision (Day 4)

In the movie “Up In the Air,” there’s a scene in which George Clooney’s character talks to a friend on the phone following a difficult article-1243187-07D8F41D000005DC-807_468x424encounter.  It’s been a real wakeup call for him, and the friend says, “Ryan, what do you want?”  With a confused look on his face, he says nothing.  His friend finally responds, “You have no idea, do you.”

“What do you want?”  Sounds like a simple question, but my experience is that it is one of the most difficult questions for people to answer honestly and clearly.  They have absolutely no trouble ticking of the laundry list of things they don’t want.  But when pressed with, “Okay, but what do you want?” they respond like Ryan Bingham.  Speechless and dumbstruck.

If you want to make your work+life fit a reality, you have to have a general understanding or picture of what you want first.  As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky responded when asked how he scored so many goals, “I skate to where the puck is going to be.” (quote courtesy of Sam Horn).

Therefore, Day 4 of the “Work+Life Fit in 5 Days” Series is devoted to creating your work+life fit vision.

First, let’s look back at Days 1, 2 and 3 of the series.  Hopefully, you see how the “how-to” basics we’ve covered set you up nicely to begin to answer this tiny, troublesome question:

  • Day 1: you learned there is no right answer of “balance.”  And you began to see all of the work+life fit possibilities from making both small and big adjustments in how, when and where you worked and managed your life.
  • Day 2: you learned to recognize and challenge roadblocks that pop up when your definition of success related to money, prestige, advancement and caregiving is too limited and rigid.
  • Day 3: you learned how to challenge the all too common, “Yes, buts…” and “What if,…” fear roadblocks that inevitably litter the path to a better work+life fit.

You’re open and you’re ready.  Let’s get started!  The information in this post and in the accompanying Fast Company post for Day 4 is so important that I’ve included even more book excerpts, so please read.  Good stuff!


Excerpt from Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You (Note: when I wrote the book, work+life fit was not the accepted terminology, so I refer to the vision as the “work+life” vision.  Today, substitute work+life fit vision).

“By definition a vision is ‘an imaginative insight into a subject or problem’ (Oxford American Dictionary).  Therefore, by creating your work+life vision, you are creating an imaginative insight into how you want work to fit into your life as a whole.

In other words, your vision is not how someone else sees working fitting into your life, but how you see it.  It’s not how work should fit in, but how you want it to fit in.  And it’s not how does your life fit into your work, but how do you imagine work fitting into your life.  This is your work+life vision.”  (Click here for more, and to print or download PDF).

Takeaway Action Step

Like any journey, you have to start with an idea of where you want to go before you begin. In this case, you can’t analyze and change your work and personal realities as part of the Work+Life Fit roadmap (which we will cover in Day 5)without a guiding vision of what you want those changes to help you achieve.

Your work+life fit vision will change countless times over the course of your life and career. After you’ve consciously articulated what you want, you will repeat the process many times in the future.  Like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.


If I had to pick a favorite chapter from my book, it would be this one.  The little hairs on my arms stand up every time I read it.  Why?  Because I know that if more people had and understood the Work+Life Fit visioning tools, not only would their personal reality be transformed, but our collective reality would improve beyond measure.  But, sadly, most of us have no idea they exist, or how to use them.

Excerpt from Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You

“In the definition of work+life vision—creating an imaginative insight into how you want work to fit into your life as a whole—the most important words are imaginative and insight.  Why?  These are the words that describe the importance of looking within in order to see the possibilities for your life.  This is how you create your work+life vision.

GROUND RULES:  Leave All ‘Reality’ at the Door, Now It’s Time to Dream!

The only way you’re going to create a vision that truly reflects how you want work to fit into your life is to check ‘reality’ at the door.  You’ll have plenty of time to worry about reality later.  But for now there are no limits, no ‘shoulds,’ ‘cant’s,’ ‘oughts,’ ‘yes buts,’ or ‘what ifs.’  There are only the possibilities and dreams.  Only ‘why nots.’”  (Click here for more, and to print and download PDF)

Takeaway Actions Steps:

There are two possible approaches to creating your unique work+life fit vision: 1) the head-based approach, or 2) the heart-based approach. Neither one is right or wrong, but the heart-based approach adds the power of your internal guidance, that “still, small voice,” to the mix.   As I say in the book, “If you remember only one reason for listening to your internal guidance, it’s this:  Only your internal guidance dreams bigger dreams for your life than your “rational” mind could begin to imagine.”

The Mind, Body and Spirit tools are the key to the heart-based approach for creating your work+life fit vision. All three play an important role, and I’m not talking about religion when I say “spirit.”

The “mind” tools are pretty self-explanatory.  This includes case studies, advice, and research that give you the information you need to succeed.  How have other individuals and organizations benefited from a more flexible work+life fit reality?  What did they do?

The “body” tools are also pretty straightforward.  You want to have access all of your energy and creativity in order to hear your internal guidance and create a work+life fit vision that’s as clear as possible.   And you need all of the resources possible finalize your plan based on that vision and make it a reality.  You do this by taking care of yourself physically as much as possible.

I cover the “spirit” tools and the power of internal guidance in my Fast Company post from today.  I outline strategies for accessing your internal guidance to develop your work+life fit vision, but I also share my personal story.  How my internal guidance informed my work+life fit transition almost 20 years ago from banker to work+life flexibility strategy consultant.


Excerpt from Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You

“Over the years, I’ve shared the power of the mind, body and spirit tools to resolve work/life conflict.  And clients and workshop participants so often responded: ‘That sounds great, but when am I supposed to find the time to do all of that?’
When I reluctantly started down the path of seeking my internal guidance, I never believed I’d find the time to use one tool, never mind three.  However, the more unhappy and unhealthy I felt I knew that I simply needed to find the time.  I looked at my life and found time by watching less TV, and going to bed earlier so that I could wake up an hour earlier to meditate and write in my journal.  I made sure I left work on time to make it to yoga class.”  (Click here for more, and to print or download PDF)

Takeaway Action Steps

My personal and professional experience is that you can find the time.  You just have to look, and you don’t really have to do that much to start to notice increased clarity about what you want in your work+life fit.  Here are some suggestions from the chapter excerpt above:

  • Complete the “How Connected Are You to Your Internal Guidance?
  • Try the very basic, super simple “Mind, Body, Spirit” tools practice for one week

What do you want?  How to you create your work+life fit vision?

Entire “Work+Life Fit in 5 Days” Series:

Day 1: What is Work+Life Fit? / Seeing the Possibilities

Day 2:  Challenge Roadblocks — Redefine Success:  Money and Prestige / Advancement and Caregiving

Day 3:  Challenge Roadblocks — Fear

Day 4:  What Do You Want? / Your Internal Guidance and My Story

Day 5:  Creating Your Work+Life Fit Plan–Making It a Win-Win

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