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Girls Knock Life’s Guide On How Women Can Have A Better Work Life Balance

Being a modern, working woman is never easy. You want to make sure that you are successful in your career, or running your business, but you also want to make sure you are happy and healthy.

Achieving a work life balance isn’t the easiest things to do. However, it isn’t impossible. So, what is the secret? How can you maintain the ideal balance between the two? Girls Knock Life have the answer!

Learn how to prioritize your time

If your time is stretched, then you need to learn how to work out what is urgent and what can wait. For some people, the easiest way to do this is to write down all the tasks that you need to do, both at home and at work. Then you can figure out when each one needs to be done and whether it needs to be a priority or not. This will give you a tangible list that you can then work through.

Work at times that suit you

Of course, this isn’t going to be possible if you are employed to work set hours, or your business needs to be open at certain times. However, if you can set your own hours, then do it! Some people find it easier to get up early and work for a few hours before the morning tasks need to be completed, others may be somewhat of a night owl and find it easier to work in the evening.

Don’t forget to take some me time

With a job or a business to consider, your family members to see, and maybe you have a family of your own, it can be hard to think about taking some time for yourself. However, this is incredibly important as otherwise you can end up burning out and this isn’t going to be good for anyone. It might just be a bath or a long shower, but sometimes just the smallest things can really help lift your mood.

Plan for the future

It can be all too easy to always think about the immediate rather than the long term. However, you are going to need to consider times when you are likely to be unable to work or will find it hard. Christmas, birthdays, school vacations, they can all take their toll on your “working time” so plan for these in advance and you will feel much calmer when they come around.

Be where you are

By this, we mean that you need to be focused on that particular part of your life when you are there. If it is time to work, then make sure that this is your focus. However, if you are spending time with your family, ignore the work that needs to be done. Otherwise you may miss out on quality time with those that mean the most to you.

It is possible to achieve a work life balance and even better than this, if you really put your mind to it you can become not only successful in your chosen career path, but also a fantastic and inspirational woman too!

3 Tips to Dreaming Up Your Own Business

Nearly everyone dreams of working for themselves. In an ideal job, you’d be your own boss, doing something you love, and making lots of money while doing it. Many business ideas sound a little crazy when they first start out. Facebook probably seemed like an insane idea when Zuckerberg first started talking about it, but now we can’t imagine the world without it. When Maxine Clark first came up with the idea for Build-A-Bear Workshop, some folks likely thought she was a genius, while others probably thought she was doomed to fail.

All successful business ideas start with that little spark. You can start your own business, as well. Whether your star will shoot as high as a company like Facebook or will lead you on to something else depends on a combination of luck, skill, and determination. Here are a few tips to get you (and your business) started.

1. What Are You Really Passionate About?
If you’re starting a business, it isn’t going to be just another job. It’s going to be a career and possibly your entire life. Keeping this in mind, you want to choose something you’re really passionate about. What do you love? What do you know a lot about? What would you like to bring into the lives of others?

 2. Focus on Your Target Market
As you think of your business idea, imagine the ideal customer for your service or product. Are you trying to get the attention of working moms? Would your new gadget be perfect for people who are health-conscious? Are kids the demographic for the new game you’d like to sell? Keep your target market in mind as you move forward and remember that these are the people with which you need to communicate. Your language, message, and branding should all be carefully-crafted with them in mind.

 3. Don’t Let What-Ifs Consume You
An inspirational quote that’s often attributed to Mark Twain is this: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” It’s easy to get consumed by doubts and fears of failure, but if you let them drag you back, you’ll be unable to take any steps forward. Sure, things could go wrong. But things could also go very, very right. As trite as it sounds, you have to see failure as a learning experience and keep charging forward. That’s what all the greats have done—and they just kept doing it until they succeeded.

Judgeless Parenting

Last night I was watching a new show on FX called “Better Things” starring Pamela Adlon. The show on some levels is difficult to relate to: the main character is an actress living in Los Angeles with a gorgeous home. On other levels, it’s easy to relate to her: she’s in her 40s, a single mom raising three unruly daughters that work to drive her crazy on a daily basis, and she’s really struggling to keep her *&$% together. On every level, the show is both hilarious and touching.

Last night’s episode was especially endearing because it touched home on something we’re practically all guilty of: being judgemental. As women, we desperately want to lift each other up and support one another, but we’re also raised in a society where we’re practically bred to tear each other apart. For instance: the main character Sam (who is overtly atheist), ended up in a situation with another child’s mom, Trinity, who was Mormon. Sam had plenty of preconceived ideas about Mormonism and their views about gays and black people, and wrongly assumed that Trinity held those beliefs and disliked her immediately without giving her a chance. Trinity also held her own beliefs about Sam and her parenting based on her lack of spiritual devoutness.

The episode (called “Duke’s Chorus” if you get the chance to see it), while it didn’t show Mormonism in a particularly great light, did an excellent job of having the two moms sit down and talk things out, getting to know each other, and show just how much they actually did have in common not only as moms, but as people. Granted, they were sort of forced into conversation as their daughters played together, but they realized how much they were judging each other when they were really just working hard to figure it all out and they just needed to have each other’s backs.

Interestingly enough, this also mimics a situation in my own life. I am from Boston and only recently moved to Southern California four years ago where there is a very large population of Mormons. (Note: I never knew a single Mormon in Boston.) I’m also not particularly religious, though I’d say I’m spiritual, just not religious. I held my own preconceived notions about Mormonism until I recently made several close friends from that church who I can say have completely changed my viewpoint, at least about the members. They are some of the most liberal, open-minded, loving and kind people and amazing moms (and dads!) that I have in my life, and I’m so glad that I was open-minded enough to let them in.

It was an excellent social commentary not just on parenting, but on women in general. While we’re incredibly lucky to have far more information and support than our parents did and their parents did before them, we’re all just still trying to figure it all out as we go. Let’s have each other’s backs.

7 New Skills To Learn This Year

With open sourced classes like Udemy, and even just Youtube, it is easier than ever to learn some cool new skills online for free!

1. Coding
Coding isn’t just for computer workers anymore. It can be hugely advantageous to marketers and entrepreneurs as well! Knowing basic coding can help for little fixes on your website. You won’t need to run to a web developer for every little error, so doing a bit of your own coding will save you a lot of unnecessary money and time. Even if you can’t fix something yourself, knowing some coding will help you communicate more effectively with your developer when you do need help. Coursera offers a bunch of free intro programming classes.

2. Photography
Being able to take a great photo is fun, but also a highly utilized skill in marketing and business. These days, there are so many awesome free photography tutorials online (or MatadorU offers some paid ones as well) that you’re spoilt for choice. Even learning the Rule of Thirds takes just a few seconds and will forever improve your photos!

3. Self Defense
Learning a few basic self defense moves can mean the difference between life and death in a dire situation, but it can also mean improved self confidence and less fear in day to day life. Many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Israeli Krav Maga teachers post YouTube videos with basic moves that you can easily learn yourself (and practice on a willing friend).

4. Cooking
While you might not become the next Martha Stewart overnight, the vast numbers of free recipe sites and cooking tutorials provide ample opportunity to at least improve your skills and meal variety. Sites like Epicurious and How2Heroes are especially helpful and high quality.

5. Language
Whether you’ve got an upcoming trip to Spain or you’ve always dreamed of downing pasta in Italy, learning a language can open up a whole new world (literally). With just a few minutes everyday (or an hour if you’re really dedicated), apps like Duolingo provide measurably improved results in language learning.

6. Investing
While your first leap into investing can feel scary and overwhelming (what’s a 401K, really?), learning to invest can be the most important thing you ever do for your bank account. If you don’t know where to start, Investopedia is helpful and simple.

7. Writing
“Content creation” seems to be the new buzzword, and online written communication is more important than ever. From writing blog posts, to emails, to Facebook posts, to text – our world communicates constantly in written form. Improving your writing skills instantly improves your communication skills, and can even improve your employability and job opportunities. Free apps like Hemingway will get you on your way.

What The Heli is Going on?

I have never understood helicopter parenting.  I can barely get through my own day, never mind micromanage two small humans in addition to that. Whenever I win the parenting lottery and have a small window of five minutes of time in my day to pause and look around, I try to watch the world around me because I’m a sucker for human behavior. Because my world revolves around my kids, those behaviors tend to be either that of children or their parents.  I’m honestly baffled by the helicopter parenting trend.  I just don’t get it.

I was raised the oldest of four children.  My dad worked as a contractor during the day and my mom worked at a plastics factory at night until she scored a day job when we were older in the school department (that was a much cushier gig than working in a plastics factory). We went to school, came home, did our homework and then we went outside to play: unattended (gasp!). We’d play in the neighborhood or even go over to another neighborhood, and we’d come home for dinner.  On the weekends, we’d be outside playing for almost the full day, and somehow, miraculously, we didn’t need to coordinate playdates and logistics and map things out on apps and calendars and work out algorithms to figure out how to do it, we just did.

Studies show that a lot of helicopter parenting can be blamed on the fact that we have too much information at the ready.  Social media, research and educational information, parenting blogs and articles, all of it – just information overload.  We’re always trying to be the BEST parent, and in doing so, we end up micromanaging down to the finest details, forgetting that we sometimes have to let kids do and figure things out for themselves.

I did a little research, and found some great ideas for parents who want to land the copter and start to extract and let their kids be more self-reliant:

1. Make a “Kid Resume.”  Sit down with your child and a piece of paper and write “Jenny is Four, and she can do these things(*)”. Then work with your child to list of all the things she can accomplish at this age.  Maybe revisit within six months.

2. Create an “I DID THIS!” list.  Create and post a list when your child accomplishes something new and put a date and a star next to it.

3. Help your child “Get The Picture.”  I *loved* this one, from Dawn Arnold of Mazon, IL, mother of a 5-year-old. “I filled a small photo album with pictures of my daughter doing all the things she needs to do in the morning before school, after school, and before bed. Now she follows along every day. It lets her be independent, but the things that I think are important are still getting done.” (*)

We all want to be there for our children and let them know they are safe and loved, but we also want them to grow up to be independent, well-rounded, giving, and grounded individuals as well. It’s time we land the helicopters.

(*) Noted from parenting.com article.

7 Ways To Have a Healthier Lifestyle

It’s hard to find motivators to stay in shape, especially during the summertime. Now that we’re in the thick of swimsuit season, juggling our work schedules with fun in the sun, it’s even harder to find time to work out. If you need a quick fix, here are seven ways to get fitter this week:

1. Exercise Efficiently
Workouts don’t have to take hours; an effective and thoughtfully developed daily workout plan can be completed in thirty minutes or less. Instead of running for hours, do sets of burpees and jumping jacks; instead of waiting on machines at the gym, work on your push-ups and crunches.

2. Work More Walking Into Your Day
Most research confirms that you don’t need to run for miles and hours every day; as long as you reach a high target goal of steps taken per day, typically around 10,000 or so, you’ll see leaps of change in your fitness. Instead of taking the train to work, give yourself a little extra time and walk.

3. Drink More Water
Most people don’t drink nearly enough water; typically, people should drink eight glasses of water a day. If you think you do drink the appropriate amount of water, drink more! An ambitious goal would be to drink a gallon of water a day; it’ll keep your body hydrated and squelch your appetites and cravings throughout the day!

4. Take Vitamins and Supplements
It’s important to keep a well-rounded amount of vitamins and minerals in your system. While you may be getting more vitamin D during the summer, you won’t be absorbing any of your vitamin C without a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Get yourself a well-rounded vitamin and take supplements for any minerals and hormones you know your body runs in deficiency.

5. Eat Cleaner Foods
A lot of people try to lose weight quickly by denying themselves of food; a classic mistake! In reality, if you deny your body food, it will retain water weight and you’ll start burning muscle tissue instead of fat tissue. Instead of starving yourself, just eat smarter! Eat more salads, seafood, and fruits; cut back on gluten, dairy, and treats.

6. No More Dressing and No More Soda
Want to lose a few pounds fast? There are two easy eliminations from your diet that will help you drop a ton of weight: condiments and sodas. The amounts of sugar and calories consumed in each serving of ketchup or in each can of soda are very high, and usually people consume both of these in bulk.

7. Add Fitness to Your Regular Routine
Yes, it’s hard to squeeze workouts into our already busy schedules. Instead, change a few small details about your daily life to insert fitness into your day! Instead of slumping in your desk chair, sit on a yoga ball at work. Carry a water bottle in your purse. Make small changes to liven up your day!

Girls Knock Life