How to Stay Healthy While Working from Home

27 Apr
Working from home tips

Me in 2007 before working from home

When my coworkers found out I was leaving my job at an ad agency to go work from home at Radian6, I remember them clearly saying, “You’re going to get fat.” To them, working from home likely meant balancing your laptop from your pajama-covered knees at 3pm. Working from home meant literally rolling out of bed to work, or working at all hours, eating potato chips at midnight. In other words, working from home meant I wouldn’t be productive or healthy.

Three years after that initial conversation with my coworkers, I am still working from home. And guess what? I am more productive than ever before. I also weigh ten pounds less than I did while working at the ad agency. My bad back is hardly an issue, and I’m stronger and can run farther and faster.

Not only is working from home a conducive work environment for my job (I write, edit and produce content), but it’s made me a healthier person. Here’s how I did it.

A Regular Running Schedule

On my first day at Radian6, at 7:30am, I started running. It was the first time I ran since the mile run in high school gym class. I hated running, but I figured it was a quick, free way to burn calories and jump start my day. I haven’t stopped this routine. This gets me energized for the day ahead and puts me on a schedule.

Mentally Separating Home from Work

Running in the morning gets me out of the house so that when I return, I can shower, eat breakfast and start working. It removes me from the “rolling out of bed to work” mentality. I also have a dedicated work space. This helps me focus, and when I need breaks, I can leave the room and mentally separate myself from my workload.

Walking During Conference Calls

Unless I need to be in front of the computer, I walk during all my conference calls. I pace the hallways, walk outside or do laps around my living room. This burn calories (it’s also how I achieve my FitBit goals), but it also helps me really pay attention to the call. Without a computer, there’s no temptation to multitask.

Moving My Workspace

Even though I have a dedicated work space, I like to move around. This small change gives me a fresh state of mind. Whether it’s Starbucks, sitting outside or at the dining room table, I like to change the scenery. At the same time, I don’t work in or near the kitchen, because I’d be too tempted to snack.

Working from home tips

Me in 2014 after three years of working from home

Food Shopping the Healthy Way

Since I work from home, I eat what’s in my kitchen. Therefore, I make sure to shop for healthy snacks and meals. I think this is a big reason for losing the weight. At the agency, there would be tempting homemade goodies everywhere. I can’t eat what I don’t have, so I make sure not to have those foods available.

Small Meals Throughout the Day

Because I have access to an entire kitchen, I eat many small meals during the day versus three big meals. I start my day with an egg and coffee, a granola bar around 11am, a salad or small sandwich for lunch and then yogurt or veggies in the afternoon. At the end of the day, I eat a small portion dinner with my family. I also don’t go out to lunch more than once a month or so.

 

Whether you work from home or not, you need a good work/life, healthy balance. If your only kickboxing class is at 10am, make it happen. You can come into work earlier or work later, or find other ways to make up the time. Take the time to prepare a healthy lunch and take breaks for snacks.  Go out for lunch or coffee less often. Without a healthy body, you can’t take care of your family, yourself or do your job. All employers should recognize this, so no excuses!

Do you work from home? If so, how do you stay healthy?

Why I Joined RingLead to Lead Content Marketing

18 Apr

RingLeadAfter three years at salesforce.com (and formerly Radian6), I’ve taken on a new and exciting venture leading content marketing for RingLead as Director of Marketing. RingLead is a leader in data quality for salespeople and marketers. It ensures clean, deduplicated data for CRMs and marketing automation software.

I couldn’t be more excited about this new opportunity. Here’s why.

A strong vision

Ever since I started working, I’ve ensured that I am 110% behind the company vision. Data quality is critical for CRM and marketing automation success. Bad data is a waste of time and money. It doesn’t serve the customer or the user in any way. I always strive to solve business problems so both customers and employees can focus on doing their jobs well. RingLead is all about that vision.

Smart company structure

RingLead is a flat organization where everyone works together, and everyone plays a role in marketing. This enables great collaboration and transparency across the entire organization, and easy, two-way communication with anyone from sales to the CEO.

Creative freedom

I’ve had creative freedom at all my tech jobs and RingLead is no different. They are open and excited about my ideas, my vision, and my love for strategy and writing. They will fuel and support my plans and that only pushes me harder to execute. Creative freedom and trust is a huge part of content marketing success.

A love for content marketing

RingLead believes in content marketing. Team members like Gregg Thaler and Michael Farrington  (@michaelforce) are already doing content marketing. The company is investing in me and the content strategy I can bring to the table. This kind of support fuels growth and at a smaller organization, I can help this company grow and break new ground with content.

Salesforce ecosystem
I love the brand and products of salesforce.com. It was important to me to continue to be part of the Salesforce ecosystem that I’ve grown to know and love. RingLead is a Salesforce partner and therefore, I will continue to be part of the great Salesforce community. Dreamforce 2014, anyone?

Work life balance

I started writing this post from the Long Island Ferry, commuting home from a meeting with the great folks at RingLead. I am passionate about my career, but equally dedicated to my family and the balancing act that is work and life.  There’s nothing more conducive than a great work environment. I am excited about having the flexibility to work from home to write and develop strategy, yet take a quick ferry ride to the office.

I am thrilled and ready to start this new venture, and I look forward to sharing my learnings and experience as I take this new path to career growth.

Learn more about RingLead and what I’ll be marketing in this awesome video:

Please share your new job advice! I’d love to get your insight.

Why I Never Stop Taking Chances

13 Apr

I have some big news coming up (which I’ll share later this week) and this news relates to taking chances. I took chances non-stop in my teens and 20s. Fear was not in my vocabulary.

Today, however, I am more settled. But I still have that burning fire inside me that encourages me to take another leap. I love to constantly be challenged, learn new things and explore.

I recently read an inspiring post by Jason Goldberg, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Fab. called 90 Things I’ve Learned From Founding 4 Technology Companies. Now, I may not have founded four companies (the closest thing I’ve done is start a dog park), but there are great inspirational moments here to encourage me to keep pushing myself personally and professionally.

Here are some of my favorites from his list.

23. Inspire.

Are you doing everything in your power to inspire everyone around you? Whether it’s at work or at home, push others to move forward, do their best and work toward something great.

61. Spend every dollar like it is your last.
 But, don’t be afraid to spend.

There’s a balance between saving and spending money, but part of taking chances is finding the right moments to spend, and then spending it. My husband and I finally took that cruise we always wanted and it was one of the best vacations of our lives. It’s about quality of life today as much as it is about saving for retirement.

65. If you’re on a rocket-ship, strap on on your seatbelt and aim for another planet.

If you’re on to something big and exciting, go for it. Then, don’t take a break but instead, soar toward that next exciting moment or goal. I remember when I ran my first 5k. I was excited and proud but then I thought, what if I can run further? That’s when I started running five miles.

77. Wear funny socks or colorful shoes.

This is great for company culture, but it’s also a perfect reminder to have fun in your day-to-day life. As a mom, I can easily find myself in jeans and sweat shirt, but I don’t feel excited or empowered. I push myself to wear something that makes me feel good, even if it’s on a Saturday morning.

80. Laugh at yourself, and let others do so too.

Whether it’s burning toast or making a typo, I try not to sweat it. I learn from my mistakes and quickly move on.

83. Find inspiration in the people around you.

Always be open-minded and ready to learn new things. You can learn something from everyone you meet, so take that chance.

84. Have fun every single day.

It’s as simple as Jason puts it, “If it’s not fun, stop doing it.  No one is making you.
”

87. Mature, but don’t grow up.

I love playing with my two-year-old as if I’m a kid, too. We dig in the dirt, ride the slide together and make a giant mess in the kitchen. Some of these moments are the best ones I’ve ever had.

90. Smile, you’re designed to.

 

Thanks Jason for the amazing post. What other inspirational learnings have you gained? Feel free to share your thoughts here. And stay tuned for my news in my next post.

16 Ways to Enjoy Spring with Social Media

6 Apr

Spring Social MediaSpring is here and coming from New England, I couldn’t be more excited. We’ve been nailed with snowstorms this season so I’m thrilled about the fresh blades of grass, the budding branches, and the flocking birds.

Using social media everyday, I love to document my experiences of Spring as well as find things to do outside. Here are some ways that I do it.

 

  1. Post Spring photos on Instagram
  2. Check in with Foursquare to parks, playgrounds and hiking trails
  3. Join local Facebook groups to find nearby events or talk about the weather
  4. Follow community leaders and web properties on Twitter to find or suggest events
  5. Sign up for EventBrite notifications for relevant events
  6. Follow and use top hasthags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram like #spring, #blossom or even #flowerporn
  7. Write blog posts while sitting outside (I’m doing that right now!)
  8. Share your new blog posts on LinkedIn
  9. Use a pedometer or tracker like FitBit to get outside and challenge your friends
  10. Go geocaching and join the online community
  11. Find an allergy-tracking app to stay healthy outside
  12. Spring clean your social media profiles: update your bios and photos, unfollow unwanted users, update your LinkedIn profile, etc.
  13. Use the beautiful Spring backdrop for a new avatar, Facebook cover photo, Twitter background or gravatar
  14. Shoot a Vine of your budding backyard
  15. Download a new app to track your outdoor activities, such as Runkeeper or Runcoach
  16. Put the phone down! Go an hour without using social media to truly enjoy the world around you

What other ways do you use social media to enjoy Spring?

5 Really Fast Twitter Tricks

30 Mar

twitter tipsTwitter continues to be one of the main social channels for individuals and brands and there’s a big reason for that: Twitter has over 43 million monthly active users, and those user demographics are spread pretty evenly across age groups, according to eMarketer.

But with Facebook and Instagram as my dominant social channels for personal use, and LinkedIn for professional use, I use Twitter for both. And I don’t have a ton of time for that. Here are some of my Twitter tricks to contribute, stay engaged, and grow my followers while spending minimal time.

 1.Follow nearly everyone who follows you

This is a great way to demonstrate community and involvement, while growing your following. See, as you follow people back, you’re exposed to their conversations and their connections. That’s more people to follow, and more people to follow you back.

With that said, avoid following any users without profile bios, photos or real Twitter handles. Most of these are spam or inactive, and not worth the follow.

2. Unfollow regularly

Since you are following more people, you are bound to follow some accounts you wish you hadn’t connected with. Following more people increases your feed activity and with many more followers comes a pretty busy feed. In fact, it may be too busy to even keep up. This is another reason to clean house.

Some people prune regularly, but I choose to do it a few times a year. I use Manage Flitter to help me unfollow based on inactive users, number of followers, people who have unfollowed me, and many more.

3. Favorite a tweet for future reference

Whenever I see a tweet with a great link, quote or something I can use or reference later, I favorite the tweet (click on the star icon next to the tweet). When you’re on your Twitter homepage, you can access all your favorite tweets in one list. This is great if you don’t have time to retweet or respond to that tweet when you first see it. I also favorite great comments and conversations just to show appreciation and engage.

4. Try out new functionality

Like most social platforms, Twitter rolls out new features often. Remember when Vine launched? Whether it’s a small redesign or a new feature (like the latest social image addition), test it out when it launches. This shows your interest in social, starts conversations with other users and it’s just plain fun. I follow the Twitter blog to learn the latest.

5. Check your notifications first

Since I use a number of social channels, I don’t always have time to read my Twitter feed. I set notifications on my phone as well as check the notification feed before I do anything else on Twitter. This shows me the latest engagement around my account, including mentions, retweets, favorites and follows. It’s a good way to see the latest, most important conversations around your Twitter handle. You should respond and engage with these first before checking your regular feed.

What other tips and tricks do you use on Twitter?

100 Lessons Learned from Writing 100 Blog Posts

16 Mar

100 lessons learnedThis is my 100th blog post. While I am excited about the amount of content created, I am even more focused on what I’ve learned in this time. I started this blog in 2010 when I was working on a few client projects at an advertising agency in Connecticut. Today, I work in tech creating content that helps hundreds if not thousands of customers and non-customers everyday.

Even more amazing is the family I’ve created in the time since I started this blog. I have a husband, a son, a house, and a great support system and community. Writing over these years has shown my progression and growth. Looking back, I can find hundreds of lessons learned from my experience. Today, in the spirit of the 100th post, here are 100 of those lessons.

  1. Strive for the best everyday.
  2. Put your family first.
  3. Make yourself a very close second.
  4. Go on vacation.
  5. Explore life.
  6. Don’t burn bridges.
  7. Be optimistic.
  8. Focus on the moment you’re in.
  9. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  10. Find joy and love in everything you do.
  11. Look for the signs.
  12. 13 is still my lucky number.
  13. Find your focus.
  14. Then focus on what works.
  15. Listen to those around you.
  16. Know there is always someone better than you.
  17. Find a mentor.
  18. Learn something new everyday.
  19. The snow will melt.
  20. Be yourself.
  21. Have fun.
  22. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
  23. Be competitive.
  24. But be a team player.
  25. Take a break from your smartphone.
  26. Take a break from TV.
  27. Take a break from the Internet.
  28. Drink less coffee.
  29. Remember your dream.
  30. Strive for that dream everyday.
  31. If you’re not happy, change what you’re doing.
  32. Don’t double check, triple check your work.
  33. Travel at least once a quarter.
  34. Learn more from your dog.
  35. Learn more from your kids.
  36. Get outside and play.
  37. Buy local.
  38. Give, give, give.
  39. Make the most of what you have.
  40. There’s a reason for everything.
  41. Trust your gut.
  42. Heal old wounds.
  43. The show must go on.
  44. Give second chances.
  45. Don’t worry about tomorrow, you did that yesterday.
  46. Achieve your goals.
  47. Follow the fear.
  48. No idea is a bad idea.
  49. Smile more.
  50. Frown less.
  51. Try something new.
  52. You can’t plan everything in life.
  53. Jealously gets you nowhere.
  54. It’s OK to suck at your passion.
  55. Reconnect with old friends.
  56. Network everyday.
  57. You’ll find fun in old school board games and pinball.
  58. Communities are everywhere and joining them is easy.
  59. Give back.
  60. The first idea in your head is sometimes the best idea.
  61. But get a second opinion.
  62. Be open-minded.
  63. You can’t do everything yourself.
  64. So seek help from others.
  65. And have faith in others.
  66. Blaze new trails.
  67. Failure is fine.
  68. Blog during the holidays.
  69. Can you build it? Yes you can!
  70. Sign up for the conferences you’ve always wanted to go to.
  71. Sit next to someone you don’t know.
  72. Take more pictures.
  73. Sit in the front row.
  74. Wake up early to exercise.
  75. Find apps to help you achieve your goals.
  76. Don’t conform.
  77. Keep at your goals no matter what.
  78. Don’t Reply All.
  79. Look at your results often.
  80. Do something about those results.
  81. You can learn a lot from a 14-year-old.
  82. There’s a ton of content to create about Border Collies.
  83. Wearable technology can change your life.
  84. Love the ones you’re with.
  85. Relax more.
  86. Stress less.
  87. Remember the forest through the trees.
  88. Cleaning is overrated.
  89. Naps are good.
  90. Walk during every conference call.
  91. Stretch everyday.
  92. Yoga is your friend.
  93. Find ways to have fun without spending money.
  94. Cruising is the best.
  95. You can grow your Klout score when on maternity leave.
  96. Bacon really does make everything better. (Look at the photo again!)
  97. Give shout outs to those you admire.
  98. All boats rise.
  99. There really is an app for that.
  100. Don’t ever stop writing.

What other lessons have you learned while blogging over time? Share your ideas here and thank you for your years of reading, following, liking and sharing. I look forward to the next 100 blog posts.

The Service Providers That Cannot Be Replaced by the Internet

9 Mar
Image source:  Photo Connection of Colchester

Image source: Photo Connection of Colchester

The Internet is a valuable resource for research, connecting, sharing and discovering. It has helped me replace some unnecessary in-person experiences. For example, I haven’t been to a travel agent since I was 10. I go to the mall a few times a year, when in the ’90s, I went every weekend.

But some in-person experiences cannot be replaced no matter how hard the Internet tries. Yes, there are lawyers and doctors that fit in this realm, but I’m referring to service providers that are often swapped out for online apps and tools. To have the best outcome for yourself, in-person conversations and collaboration is crucial. Here’s what I mean.

Accountants

There are plenty of great online tools to help you with your taxes (you might be using one right now), but I still choose my accountant. She understands my job, my husband’s business, our family set up, and can recommend the best items to claim and tactics to take to get an ideal return. She is a friend and lives in our town, which makes it easy to stop by and ask questions, drop off paperwork and sign forms. She also helps us throughout the year. No online tool is that valuable.

Financial Advisers

Our financial adviser comes to our house twice a year to ensure our financial situation is running smoothly. He helps us decide where and when to invest, how much we should be saving, and gives us projections for our retirement. While there are plenty of online apps to manage your finances, a regular, in-person visit from someone you trust is the best way to plan to your financial future.

Insurance Agencies

There are many great insurance agencies to help you find the best insurance for your car, home, rental, business, etc. However, oftentimes we shop around via online quotes and close the deal within an hour over the phone. By working with real, live insurance agents, you get the best policies for your needs. Plus, they’ll help you expand or change your policies as needed. It’s nice to stop shopping around ourselves and have the experts guide us.

It’s important to use the Internet to do your preliminary research and find the best resources for your needs. But consider how real conversations and expert advice can help, too.

What other services do you use in person versus online? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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