Flexible Fantastic

I’m often amazed how much I have come to depend on social media to be effective at work. We have a very busy (and noisy) household. We have three young children and I work three days per week. I make the effort to live a passionate life. I also try to pay attention to the task at hand. When my children need me, I give them my attention. I set aside time for my husband, our home, my work, friendships, time to pursue things I enjoy and embrace the chaos that turns up on my doorstep from time to time.

mummy are you an octopus?

We are all busy whether it be children, work, or commitments outside of work. So I depend on the technical support and workplace flexibility I have in place, so that I can give my best to my family and my employer.

  1. Flexible working arrangements. The ability to work from home at times, flexible working hours.
  2. Wi-Fi set up at home, so I can quickly check emails on the go via my Thinkpad or iPod.
  3. Social media & networking eg
    • Twitter keeps me in touch with a collective of interesting minds and information
    • Corporate blogging site and wikis – I have met some wonderful minds, discovered some interesting projects relative to my work happening in different countries. I have met mentors and friends and further developed those friendships on Twitter, Facebook, Instant Messaging, corporate social networking tools and Secondlife.
    • My blog. It gives me a chance to collect my thoughts, notepad my ramblings, express myself, and hear from you in the comments you leave :)
    • GoogleReader for my RSS feeds so I can keep up with my favourite blogs. I have even created a category in my reader called “Growth”, for half a dozen of my must read blogs that particularly inspire me, stretching my mind and imagination. If I am really busy, I only read my Growth posts in the morning.
    • Del.icio.us and Dogear for social bookmarking. I can tag my bookmarks with keywords for quick reference, share them, and find URL goodness delivered to me when I log in when others share with me!
    • Various other tools I use at work to share files, podcasts I download (not many…I don’t get much time to listen to them)…and on the list goes. Not video blogging right now tho, I tried and it took too long.

Do I abuse the liberty of being able to work from home or spend hours on Facebook because I can? Absolutely not!
Do I work more than three days per week? Well, err yes, I do…not necessarily because I have to, but because I choose to get involved with some interesting, worthwhile projects outside the scope of my day job.
Do I learn much from these tools? Absolutely yes! Some days it is a case of information overload. My bookshelf has grown as a result and I have become involved in new creative endeavours too.

I am so glad I live a life where my work, my interests and my life intersect and overflow. I’m grateful for the days I can work from home with a sick child or attend an important school event. I’m glad for the people I meet and the precious moments I can spend with my family. The small investment I have made in developing my online profile has benefited me in terms of the knowledge I have acquired and the friendships I have made tremendously. And my employer reaps the rewards of these connections as I apply it to the projects I work on.

As for keeping a balance with family and work, I can’t say that it’s easy and I make various adjustments on a daily basis. I try to prepare healthy meals with the sanity pizza thrown in for good measure, I remember to ask for help, have great friendships, I try to rest (hmmm..must do that more often) and I feed my spirit. It works for us. :)