What’s Behind the Compulsion to Check Email

Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 | 2 comments

Do you feel annoyed and burdened by email and yet feel a perverse desire to check it throughout the day, even when you don’t really need to? As if maybe something really interesting or important is waiting in the Inbox? (This hope is usually disappointed, of course.) In an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air Tuesday, New York Times technology reporter Matt Richtel explained why we persist in this behavior. It’s called intermittent reinforcement. Although most of the time our email is not exciting, every once in a while we find something rewarding – an email from a friend, a...

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Mommy Needs a Time Out

Posted by on Jul 2, 2010 | 0 comments

I am test-driving Jane Nelsen’s  “Positive Discipline.” As I read the book, I am trying the techniques, and I will share my experience with you. Here’s the scene: I have just busted my daughter for some infraction, and she is defensive and angry. I begin to explain the limit I am setting — let’s be honest, I am lecturing — and she is not listening (the hands covering her ears are a giveaway).  “You need to listen to me,” I say, trying to contain my frustration and anger, but I might as well be an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon:...

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Teach Your Children Well — Another Reason Not to Multi-task

Posted by on Apr 21, 2010 | 0 comments

  Along with the mounting research that says that multi-tasking is ineffectual, let me add one more reason not to do it: your kids. If you want to teach them good manners and focus, you’d do well to practice a little mono-tasking. Maybe it’s just me, but I often have a hard time getting my kids to pay attention to what I am saying. At school, teachers instruct children to give “attentive listening,” while at home I find myself saying, “look at me when I talk to you” with ever more frustration. I was really getting annoyed with with my kids, and then I...

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And so to bed …..*

Posted by on Apr 6, 2010 | 0 comments

  I just drew a limit, and it felt great. I just got a phone call from a wonderful parent at the preschool where I am president of the board. She is leading a long-term strategic planning initiative, and she called with some questions. But it was just after 9:00, and my husband and I had a pact to go to bed really really really early tonight because we are totally fried from not sleeping enough for many days. So when she asked if I had a few minutes, I said, “Well, 9:00 is a bit late for me. Could we do it another time?” And of course it was fine with her. It sounds easy but it...

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Jack Welch is Right

Posted by on Aug 27, 2009 | 0 comments

  “There’s no such thing as work-life balance,” says former GE CEO Jack Welch, throwing cold water on what so many American professionals aspire to – having it all. “There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” Well, much as it pains me to admit it, I believe that Jack is right about choices. Part of being a grown-up is making choices and taking responsibility for their consequences. And yes, if you want to be the CEO of a giant corporation you may find, like thrice-married Welch, that other areas...

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Saying “No” ….. and “Yes”

Posted by on Apr 22, 2009 | 0 comments

  Why is it so easy for my two-year-old to say “No,” and so hard for me and for many women and men I know? It all came to a head this week when I tried to shoe-horn in a fourth nighttime commitment into a busy week, and my husband gently suggested I might have to say “No” to something. I squirmed and quivered and screwed up my courage and said “No” to working on something that I thought I should do that was interesting and compelling, and to which I could have made a valuable contribution, but which would have meant an unknown ongoing amount of work. And guess what?! The world did not stop...

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