Archive for October, 2011

The 36-Hour Day

with Lylah M. Alphonse

I'm a full-time editor, a part-time writer, and a mom and stepmom to five amazing kids, ages 1 to 14. For me it's not about finding balance, it's about the daily juggle-- my career, my commute, freelance work, homework, housework, married life, social life, and parenting-- and finding the time to get it all done.

To learn more about Lylah, check out her Work It, Mom! profile and read her blog at

How often do you undermine yourself?

Categories: Career, Hacking Life, Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?


Chris Brogan recently featured a brilliant post written by online marketing strategist Tommy Walker about the 106 excuses that prevent you from ever becoming great. It’s an eye-opening read, because I’ve heard myself say some of them time and again, but hadn’t really thought of the way I was undermining myself with my own words. Words like these:
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Juggling work and family when you’re away on business

Categories: Career, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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My current job takes me away from home about once a month, sometimes twice. It’s always to one of the same two places—to meet with the rest of my team in New York, or to political events in Washington, D.C.—so my youngest kids can easily understand where I am when I’m away, and why.

That doesn’t mean that they like my absences, though. My husband holds down the fort without a hitch (though more pizzas are ordered when I’m gone than when I’m home, oddly enough), but he has his own career, complete with a long commute, to juggle. So I find myself trying to minimize my trip, squeezing two days worth of work into a single day in order to avoid being away overnight.
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What’s on your ignore list?

Categories: Hacking Life, The Juggle

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We talk a lot about reining in our “to-do” lists. And one of my best motivation-boosters is my “have done” list. But while readjusting my cyber security levels on Facebook and elsewhere, I was struck by the idea of an “ignore” list. I use the option for trolls and unwelcome contacts online all the time. Why don’t I have one in real life?
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How to say “no” gracefully

Categories: Career, The Juggle, Working? Living?

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It happens to most professionals, regardless of their line of work: People want you to weigh in with your opinion, but they don’t want to pay you for your time because it’s “just a little question” or “it’ll only take a second” or “we’re family, after all.” But when those request pile up, it goes from a minute or two here and there to actual, billable hours for which you’re not getting paid—a sure sign that it’s time to say no.

But saying no feels… wrong, sometimes. You don’t want to leave a friend in the lurch, and how do you tell a relative that you usually get a-certain-dollar-amount-per-fraction-of-an-hour when the “quick question” is coming from a client rather than a cousin? And what if the request is coming from someone with whom you want to build a bridge, not burn one?

I’ve written in the past about whether it’s ever OK to work for free (and whether it’s worth it to keep working when a job stops paying you), but the real tough part for me—and for many people—is saying no gracefully. Here are four tips on how to do it:

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