Balancing Work & Family

Balancing Work & Family
I live in a sea of Post-it notes… color coordinated by topic. This works until one color runs out and my system falls apart. My only regret in 1980 is being too young to understand Post-it power, and therefore failing to buy stock in the company.

Surely I’m not the only one drowning in a sea of to-do lists and reminders. I’m up before dawn (even on the weekends) as a local business owner juggling my clients, my staff and my kids. Add housework and the dog, and I’m MAXED out. With the weight of a business on my tired shoulders, I’m constantly juggling my passion for my business, family time, and a requirement to make a living. And I’m not alone.

So many working women are stressed, balancing work and family life. With the catchy title “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” Anne Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic (July 2012 edition) created much controversy as women across the nation debated on whether “having it all” waspebble-balance-1117007-m just a myth.

As an organizer and home management professional, I can quickly provide tips to help women get more done in their days. Wake up earlier; create morning rituals to maximize time; avoid morning emails; prioritize ruthlessly; and delegate well. But one catch-phrase from the experts gets under my skin: “create work-life balance” (as if it appears with the wave of a magic wand).

With the internal drive to “have it all,” and the external pressure to appear that we are living the gold standard of got-it-together-ness, it’s no wonder we question if we’ll ever achieve balance and success in our business and home life.

Wouldn’t it be healthier to define success in a private way, determining what success really looks (and feels) like personally?

This excerpt from an article on www.womenpoweringbusiness.com is well-stated:

“I think balance is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s based on what your expectations are,” shares Marilyn Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Inc. “I’m really concerned about people feeling like they have to define balance based on anyone else’s definition. It’s got to be what works for you.”

Midyette tackles “having it all” in seasons. “In one quarter,” she said, “I may hunker down because I have major initiatives I need to get accomplished. In another quarter, it may be my kids are getting ready to go off to college and I want to be present for that.”

Having it all is possible, as long as women dispel the myth that work and life have to be equal parts all of the time, according to Patricia Falotico, an IBM executive. She shared a personal story of when she was caring for her sick father. “There were days when I had to be daughter first and executive second,” she said. “You can do it all — all that you choose to do — but you have to be able to navigate around the pot holes.”

Perhaps finding success in business means we are 100% devoted at work, focused and striving for excellence. And finding success at home means we are 100% dedicated to being a daughter, spouse or parent when with our loved ones.

The key to making this work is to choose which “piece” of life to fully embrace at any moment, and allow ourselves the freedom to live in those moments peacefully. We need to give ourselves permission for our needs, desires and dreams to change with the ebb and flow of life’s seasons.

“True success cannot be simply defined by recognition, financial gain, company growth, or our kid’s accomplishments,” shares local business coach Lisa Markman, of Jigsaw Solutions. “True success comes from finding a place of satisfaction and peacefulness within yourself, where courage and wisdom guide you to exactly where you need to be in this moment. And then finally embracing that moment with all the energy you can give to those around you.”

Success is an evolution; allowing yourself to adapt, change course, and “go with the flow” as part of the journey. Accolades along the way can motivate and encourage us; but the deep satisfaction of success can only come from within, when you are where you need to be.

Sarah Friesen is the owner of Gig Harbor Home Management, a local company offering house cleaning, home organization, home watch and relocation services…and hopefully a little bit of peace of mind in the process. She can be contacted at 253.225.4864 or www.GigHarborHomeManagement.com

(Printed in Peninsula Gateway, special “Women in Business” section, September 29, 2014)

 

 

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Outsource your way to peace and productivity
Like many of Gig Harbor’s local residents, Annie and Sam work busy full-time jobs, leaving the house early in the morning to drop off young kids at daycare before heading to work. Struggling to solidify their career paths while also trying to fully enjoy parenthood, they often feel guilty, overwhelmed and simply tired. “I feel like time is literally slipping through my fingers; like I’m trying to hold a cup of sand in my hands,” confesses Annie.

This year, they vowed to take a few simple steps in order to gain some sanity around the house. They took our advice on some easy steps:

  • Wake up earlier than the kids in order to have a peaceful, smooth start to your day.
  • Make your bed every morning so that your room feels manageable and presentable.
  • Plan ahead for meals using simple, quick ingredients and plan for only one shopping trip.
  • Do a 10-Minute Tidy every night so you can keep ahead of the clutter.

But Annie and Sam knew they had to take it even further. Sam’s career was at a critical turning point, and working extra hours could result in a rewarding promotion down the road. Annie wasn’t sure she could handle her own job responsibilities and still care for the kids in the evenings, on top of keeping up with household tasks. Something had to give.

Susan Athey, an economist at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, says “You have to start from a point where you say: What is necessary for me to be happy with my decision to be a working mother?” Athey believes, “A lot of working mothers end up throwing up their hands in exasperation saying, ‘I can’t live this way!’ and quit their jobs.”

Enter the home management outsourcing solution that is sweeping the nation.

“If parents who want to work abandon their careers before trying outsourcing, quitting may be shortsighted,” writes NY Times author Catherine Kampell.

Even if you’re faster and more effective than everyone else at a given task you still might be better off paying someone else to do it for you. Why?

“Ask the experts and they’ll point out there is a huge opportunity cost for every hour spent on tedious household tasks,” says Sarah Friesen, owner of Gig Harbor Home Management. “In most cases, there is a higher-value activity waiting for you instead.”

family-moments-983338-mFor some, outsourcing their house cleaning at a rate of $30/hour makes financial sense when they could use that time to earn $100/hour by going to work. In other situations, the cleaning service might be more of a financial sacrifice, however in the long term it allows them to get the job promotion that increases their income potential for a lifetime.

Friesen adds, “For household outsourcing to make sense, it must provide value that is higher than the cost of the service. For some families, the added value is simply time with their kids. Those items are the intangibles, and often what a family needs most in the middle of chaotic schedules.”

Home management solutions that offer full-scale services like house cleaning, professional organization and coordination are growing in popularity. And with increasing financial responsibilities, workloads and leisure activities, you might find it’s the perfection solution for your family too!

Call 253.225.4864 for more information on how GHHM can simplify your life.

 

Snowbird Prep

Snowbird Prep
While You Are Away“During a season that brought ants into our kitchen and rainwater into our basement, we’re so glad we hired Sarah as our Home Manager to check on our home and oversee calls from service providers in our absence.”   -Sandy, happy GHHM client

Every fall, snowbirds prepare to pack up and head south for the winter. Sometimes they discover just how much can go wrong inside their home where no one can see what’s happening.

“I’ll just turn off the water heater…”

Did you know that turning off your water heater has the potential to void its warranty?

“I’ll just turn the temp down…”

Did you know that a cold water heater can interfere with water softener systems, and lead to speedy corrosion and spring a leak overnight?

“It’s clean enough for while we’re gone…”

Did you know that sugar ants can literally explode in a feeding frenzy when unchecked, and are one of the hardest infestations to eliminate?

“The Security Guards will walk around the exterior every day…”

Did you know that a running toilet can waste up to 4,000 gallons per day and cost thousands if no one is inside to hear it?

Inside your home there’s potential for a variety of issues with pests, water systems and furnaces that stop working during freezing spells. Just as snowbirds in the south hire Home Watch Services for the summer, a growing number of local residents are seeing the value in Home Watch Visits for ensuring the safekeeping of their home in Gig Harbor during the winter.

Did you know?
GHHM can provide peace of mind for the safekeeping of your home with our experienced and professional home manager who will regularly inspect the inside of your home with pre-scheduled Home Watch Visits. Sarah Friesen, the Owner of Gig Harbor Home Management, will meet with you personally for a free consultation and will create a customized checklist and inspection plan in order to protect your home investment while you are away.

Call 253.225.4864 and visit our Home Watch page for more information on how to prepare for extended absences.

What Can Senior Move Managers Do?

What Can Senior Move Managers Do?
Thank you to The New York Times for featuring NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers) itself & several NASMM members in an absolutely amazing article! The NASMM blog featured the full text (due to the NYT subscription-only payw23retiring-pic1-master1050all) so anyone can read it and learn more about what Senior Move Managers do. Please read the article to find out more about this growing industry: https://nasmm.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/ok-new-york-times-we-officially-love-you/

Sarah Friesen, Gig Harbor Home Management Owner & Home Management Professional, is a NASMM member and trained Senior Move Manager. We can help with any part of your moving process!

Call us today at 253.225.4864 for a free consultation, or visit our Relocation Services webpage for more information.

Outdoor Games

Outdoor Games

August: the summer month we savor while spending as much time as possible outdoors. (And to think we’re already halfway through it!) If we aren’t having dinner on the deck, then we’re most likely visiting a friend’s patio. Whether the kids are running around at our feet, or we’re enjoying grown-up conversations and great food, everyone’s smiling in the sun.

Provide extra entertainment and laughter at your next backyard party with a few of these unique outdoor games. You might just find your friends won’t want to leave!

Mölkky (yardgames.us)
A unique game involving strategy and skill and can be enjoyed by both young and old. Toss the throwing dowel underhand and knock over the skittles. Topple one skittle and get the amount of points branded on that skittle, topple multiple skittles and get the amount of points equaling the amount of skittles toppled. First one to 50 wins! Mölkky is a great way for children to learn math skills and have fun at the same time.

Lawn Twister (Pinterest.com)
twister Make Twister on your grass! Simply use spray paint for the colored circles. (Seymour Paint makes a quick drying marking paint that washes away after a few heavy rains or with a garden hose.) The soft grass cushions any falls, and doesn’t everyone like laying around in the yard in the summer?

KUBB (fruitsuperdesign.com)
Be the first team to knock down all your kubbs and then the king, or be on the opposite team of the player that knocks down the king before knocking down all of their kubbs. Watch out: Knocking down the king without knocking down the kubbs is like sinking the eight ball out of turn.

Cornhole (Cornhole.com)
Think beanbag toss… but with rules, scoring, teams and way more fun. This can be played with 2 or 4 players. Each team has a platform with a hole in it, and 4 corn bags. You take the beanbag, toss it at a rectangular plywood board about 30 feet away, and hope to either stick it somewhere on the platform or sink it through the single hole cut into the surface.

Egg & Spoon Relays (USgames.com)
A classic for all ages. You can go the old fashioned route and use real eggs and spoons; use plastic Easter eggs; or purchase a wooden version online. Divide players into teams, line them up, and run a classic relay race. If a player drops the egg along the way, he or she must return to the line and begin again. Make the game more challenging by setting up an obstacle course. Or, add another twist: The kids must hop like a bunny, waddle like a duck, crawl like a turtle…. The possibilities are endless!

This list is just a start. Browse more online and you’ll be in lawn game heaven with all the other options out there for backyard fun.

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While the summer brings out the best in most of us, it can also be overwhelming if you’re the one hosting the party. If you need help with cleaning or organizing before or after, call us – we’ll do it for you so you can have fun – stress free. 253.225.4864

And if you have ideas of your own to share, come join us at our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

10 Tips for Raising Responsible Adults

10 Tips for Raising Responsible Adults

Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Happy Kids is taught in many school districts across the country, and if your kids were lucky enough to learn the habits last year… then hopefully they haven’t forgotten about it this summer!

Of course, wehabits hand tagxedo want summer to be fun and memorable. We want our kids to relax in the off-season from school. But this doesn’t mean they can’t help out their parents at home.

Helping around the house covers several concepts from the 7 Habits, and try to keep in mind we aren’t raising kids, we’re raising adults. This can be tough to practice, but worth the extra time and energy if it means our children will become adults who can take care of their belongings, manage their time, and maintain some basic cleanliness.

 

 

Here are 10 tips to help teach kids to care for their home and belongings:

  1. Make your bed every morning.
  2. Wipe out the bathroom sink, counter, and faucet when you’re done brushing your teeth.
  3. Put on a fresh toilet paper roll when it runs out.
  4. Hang up your wet towel after a shower.
  5. Take dishes to the sink when you’re finished eating.
  6. Hang up your coat and put away shoes when you walk in the door.
  7. Bring in your things from the car (and throw away your garbage).
  8. Unload your backpack every day after camp or school (mom and dad should provide simple steps for lunch boxes, wet swim suits, etc.).
  9. Be ready for tomorrow and think about what clothes or special items you need to get ready tonight (like washing your swimsuit today so it is ready for tomorrow’s camp).
  10. Have a 10-Minute-Tidy every night for family common areas: put away dirty dishes, books and toys, crafts, dirty socks, homework.

With several weeks of summer left, there’s still plenty of time to implement these tips. (And continue them well into the school year!) Keep reminding yourself “future adult, future adult, future adult” and let them know how much you love and appreciate their help.

Don’t forget: If you need help with home organization before or after school starts this fall, call us 253.225.4864 – we’ll provide a personalized, free consultation & estimate. No job is too big or too small for GHHM!

Your Summer Bucket List

Your Summer Bucket List

If you haven’t created a summer bucket list yet, there’s still time!

photo 5Here are a few helpful tips:

– Keep it simple and have fun with it.

– Keep expectations reasonable and costs low.

– Your ultimate goal should be focused on time spent with loved ones, being good to yourself, and finding joy in moments, rather than unattainable goals.

– Write down your ideas and hang it up in a place you’ll see it every day.

So, what’s on your list for this week?

Have fun!

Be Spontaneous

Be Spontaneous

Summer is so beautiful in the Pacific Northwest. However, we can get so busy sometimes that we miss amazing opportunities to get out and truly enjoy it. Whether you’re working, running kids around, or constantly on the go with errands, it’s time to slow down. It’s time to be spontaneous. Look for ways to take 30 minutes to enjoy these fleeting moments of summer. Stop at a local park or beach and just sit, relax, and soak it in before it’s over.

You’re more lmexican-siesta-1385302-mikely to make spontaneous beach/park stops if you keep a summer storage bin in the back of your car. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Picnic blanket & snacks
  • Sun hats
  • First aid kit (with sunscreen!)
  • Sweatshirt/sweater
  • Beach towels
  • Shovel, bucket, sand toys
  • Balls, Frisbee, kite, bubbles

Have fun!

If you don’t have the time or ideas to put this together, remember our organizing professionals can help! Call us at 253.225.4864 or visit www.gigharborhomemanagement.com for more information.

Summer Bucket List

It’s Summer: Go Make a Memory

I went home for Christmas, to the house that I grew up in.
Going back was something after all these years…
And I thought of all those summers I paced that porch and swore I’d die of boredom there.
And I thought of what I’d give to feel another summer linger, where a day feels like a year.
And I let time go by so slow, and I made every moment last.
And I thought about years. How they take so long, and they go so fast.

These lyrics from songwriter Beth Neilsen Chapman remind us to slow down…enjoy the moment…make a memory.

TubBoys_vintage
All too many of us allow hectic schedules for two months, only to feel disappointed (and tired) in September because we were too busy to actually enjoy, relax, and just be.

Here’s our advice: create a Summer Bucket List. If you have kids, have them participate in the idea process – it’s fun! Ask your partner for input, and make the formation of your list one of your first summer memories of 2014.

Some of our favorites: make homemade popsicles; watch an outdoor movie; go to a local beach you’ve never visited; make homemade bubbles; feed the ducks.

A word of caution: keep expectations reasonable and costs low. Your ultimate goal should be focused on time spent with loved ones, being good to yourself, and finding joy in moments, rather than unattainable goals.

Summers are long; and they go so fast…make this one count.

For inspiration on starting your own list, enter your email under “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” to the right.

Let us do the house cleaning and home organization so that you can enjoy enjoy a carefree summer. Call 253.225.4864 for details.

Check out our SUMMER SPECIALS!

Award Photos

Here are a few awob_cs_rs_winnerphotos from the awards gala where Sarah won the Rising Star Award. This bi-annual award honors a woman entrepreneur who has owned her business for less than five years, and is showing the persistence, tenacity, and leadership to make a difference in her business and community.

Sarah’s acceptance speech:

“The joy (and challenge) of a small business startup is that every objective, goal and marketing effort is a direct reflection of the owner’s personal values, beliefs and branding. When I consider who I am and how I’ve transferred my belief system into the ideAWOB.CR.118ntity of my company, it becomes clear that several factors have inspired and influenced me over the years.

My genealogy is filled with a family history of service-oriented individuals. “How can I help?” is as common as hello and goodbye. I believe that my career as a home management professional captures all that I have been taught about walking alongside someone during their time of stress, chaos or overwhelming workloads.

Over the years, I have considered several workplace mentors to be cornerstones in the formation of my business standards, and still try my best to operate within their treasured mantras:

*  Do it right, or don’t do it at all. 

* Create win-win partnerships: with employees, clients and providers. Always.

*  Make the phrase “Attention to details” a marketing advantage and live it in every way. 

* Honor and care for your clients, but not at your expense.  

My passion for helpingsarah_1 others, my love of organizing, my inspiring family, my influential mentors and my entrepreneurial spirit all came together one day, and I had no idea of the growth potential. But I did know that I had something valuable to offer Gig Harbor homeowners: competent, trustworthy care for their home.

I believe that many of you are familiar with my corporation’s mission, vision and values. But what I haven’t always shared is that from early on in my business growth, I knew that I wanted my company brand to connect with people.

Author Simon Sinek said “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” This philosophy captures the essence of our values at GHHM. The reason we work so hard is to provide peace of mind and protection through our home watch services, and provide the gift of time through our organization, relocation and cleaning services.

Connecting whatAWOB.CR.124 I do to an emotion about why I do it (and why they need me), points out the unique nature of what sets me apart in this industry: I consider it an honor to be given the key to someone else’s house.  It’s a very personal decision for them. I want to earn their trust and be their advocate.  I want the client to feel they are in charge and I am their representative. I take pride in giving my clients my personal touch.  I don’t outsource my core services – everyone who goes in that house as my representative is on my team.

2012 was a year of market testing, industry research, brand creation and to be honest, an assessment of my willingness and courage to be a small business owner. 2013 was a year of creation as I designed, implemented and managed six service lines. I also shifted from sole proprietor to corporation, hired my employees in order to handle client growth, worked with 20+ service partners, and solidified our corporate objectives, mission and vision.

2014 will be a year of strength. Gig Harbor Home Management will continue to expand its clientele, and solidify its reputation in the Gig Harbor market as a reliable home management expert and resource.

I am so proud of the progress we have made, and excited for all the potential the future holds for myself and my team.”

Thank you everyone, for making this possible!