Tag Archives: Summer

Fitting Fitness into your Summer Schedule

BM BALANCE 06 27 b epf

(Micaela Stavrinos works out on June 20. She is taking advantage of the longer daylight hours over the summer to attend an outdoor bootcamp. PATRICK FARRELL pfarrell@miamiherald.com)



All around me in sunny South Florida, I see people in shorts, bathing suits and tank tops. Summer is here and that means more of our bodies are exposed. For me, that's enough incentive to make an extra effort to exercise. Besides, summer brings more daylight hours to get out there and move our bodies. 

So where to begin? How do you motivate yourself and squeeze fitness into your busy life?

Fit it in your work day. Almost every day, Sergio Perez walks to the supermarket from his Miami office to grab lunch, trekking about a mile each way. While the heat can be intense in summer months, Perez, who works 50 to 60 hours a week in financial services, says the routine is the easiest way to squeeze fitness into his work life balance.

Do something you enjoy. Do you like bike riding? How about swimming? Find something you like to do and you will find yourself more motivated. It doesn't need to be grueling.  “It’s not about who works out the hardest or longest. It’s just about do something, most days of the week,” says Chira Cassel, co-founder and director of The Sacred Space Miami, a wellness center in Wynwood.

Do something small every day.  “A lot of women have life responsibilities and run into scheduling problems that make exercising more difficult,” says Tony Musto, director of fitness programs at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “But all it really takes is moderate activity five days a week.
Make it convenient. The more convenient your exercise plan, the better chance your routine will stick. Micaela Stavrinos, an administrative assistant at the executive office of University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, used to go to a gym that took an hour to get to with traffic. Because of the hassle, she stopped exercising. Now, instead of heading home from work, Stavrinos uses the longer daylight hours of summer to go to a boot camp at a gym less than a mile from her downtown Miami office and home. Within a half-hour after leaving her office, she has shed work clothes for gym clothes and is running to the nearby stop sign with others in her fitness class. “There are days when I don’t want to go, but it’s close by and I push myself,” Stavrinos says.

Be consistent.  Consistency is key to reaching health and fitness goals. Countless studies show that having someone or something keep you accountable for completing a workout will increase your adherence, and your results. Even during summer, life or work easily can get in the way of our quest for the perfect beach body. Using a wearable fitness tracker like a Fitbit, a fitness app or personal trainer, or even meeting a buddy to exercise can increase your chance of sticking to a fitness plan. It’s really about whatever motivates you and keeps you consistent.

Make it social. I love meeting my friends at exercise class. It motivates me to first show up and then to give it my best. You can combine fitness with family time, too. Talk a walk or a swim with your kids at night. Another idea is to use summer to make your get-togethers active, says Chira Cassel of The Sacred Space Miami. Instead of a business lunch, have a walking or workout meeting. Instead of joining a friend dinner, take a yoga class together in the park: “It’s a nice change of pace to get people out of their comfort zone, and less sitting is better for the body.”

Do it in your workplace or with work buddies.  Some workplaces make exercise convenient and a bonding activity, particularly during summer when the work pace slows. At Kip Hunter Marketing in Fort Lauderdale, the account executives engage in friendly exercise competition using Fitbits and compare their steps weekly. At MBAF, an accounting firm, employees in the Coral Gables office go from their desks to bootcamp in the conference room on Monday nights. Attendance is up in summer. “We all encourage each other to go. It’s fun and easy,” says MBAF Marketing Director Wolfgang Pinther.

Mix it up. Varying your workout routine, and scheduling exercise on your calendar gives you a better chance of follow-through, says Raeah Braunschweiger, a health fitness specialist with the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center in downtown Miami. She suggests trying new trends like barre fitness or belly-dancing: “Find something you find fun. People get stuck in a rut and then start to question why they are doing this.”
If you want to read more about Fitness After 40 or Fitting Fitness into Your Work Life Balance, I wrote two additional articles in the last week. 
Have a fit summer!

The Work/Life Balancing Act

A working mom’s transition to summer

Recitals, class parties, teachers' gifts…the end of the school year is such a crazy time. And then…boom it's all over.

As a working mother, I always feel strange on the last day of school. I feel like I was just buying back to school supplies and signing emergency contact forms. For a while, it feels like the year is dragging on as I manage the daily logistics of getting kids to school and to sports practice. And then suddenly, I’m going to end of the year awards ceremonies and getting everyone ready for summer camp.

To me, the end of the school year signifies the passage of time even more than ringing in the New Year. All of a sudden we realize that while we were juggling work and life, our children were growing another year older and wiser and maturing in a way we love and hate at the same time.

Now, we get a few months to slow things down and enjoy our children, our work and our home lives at a slower pace. We get to add more leisure into our schedules and worry less about logistics.

What I love most about the month of June is what lies ahead. The summer stretches before us and days last longer. I’m not ready yet to reflect on the last school year or plan ahead for the next one. I’m in a state of chill, ready to enjoy a let up in traffic, and see vacation photos on my Facebook feed. There is something so satisfying about knowing I can take a bike ride after dinner or dress a little more casual for the office.

Summer is a great time to reclaim work life balance.  To fully embrace summer, here are some suggestions for making the transition:

  • Get in the habit of spending time with your family while unplugging and staying in the present. Is there a new walking trail nearby to discover? Get out there and explore, but don’t dare bring your cell along.
  • Plan a weekend escape. Getting away doesn’t need to be stressful or heavy on the budget. Is there a nearby tourist attraction you would love to visit? I'm headed to Epcot this weekend.
  • Set a rule to always leave your workplace by 5 p.m. on Fridays. In the summer, Friday nights can be a great time to wrap up the week and leave work behind. Is there a Friday night ritual you can establish? Maybe a Friday night pizza picnic in a nearby park?
  • Consider some self care. Is there a spa you’ve been itching to try? In the summer, spas offer promotional packages and gyms are less crowded than usual. You may be able to stretch your lunch break a bit to get in a good workout. This is a great time of year to focus on your wellbeing.
  • Reconnect with a friend. Is there a friend you've been meaning to get together with but have been too busy? The slower pace of summer is a great time to make plans. Getting together with a friend is like a vitamin boost. Pick up that phone and make a date.

 We have so much to look forward to in the next few months. Enjoy!

The Work/Life Balancing Act

10 Ways Working Parents Can Prepare For Summer

                                         Summer camp



Many summers, I would scramble to leave the newsroom by 4 p.m. to pick my kids up from summer camp. Still, I would be one of the last parents in the camp pickup line. When my kids complained, I wondered how other parents made their summer schedules work.

For working parents, summer can be one of the most challenging and expensive times of the year. The free and low-cost day camps usually fill up quickly. Most camps end at around 3 or 4 p.m., and aftercare programs charge an additional fee — if they are available at all. This week, I tackled the topic in my Miami Herald column about planning ahead for summer

I also asked Linda McKnight for her thoughts. As a working parent, founder of TheChildCareSquare.com and a former owner of a child care center, Linda has a lot to say on the topic of putting steps in place to ensure a smooth summer while balancing work and family.

Here are her 10 tips for preparing for summer season:  

1.     Start early – Summer camps have limited space and fill up quickly. These days there are a myriad of resources for finding summer camp options. Camp guides are offered by local parenting magazines, the YMCA as well as local county Parks & Rec Depts. Guides are generally available by March and April. Be sure to be on the look out for the printed guides at your local libraries or check websites for online versions. Additionally, a quick google search for “Summer Camp” in your city will produce even more options.

2.     Do your due diligence – When enrolling your child in a summer camp program you want to give the same attention to due diligence that you would when enrolling your child in a school year program. To check on licensing status visit the Florida Dept of Children and Families at www.myflfamilies.com. To further assess the quality of summer programs you are considering, remember to look for reviews on review sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local Listings and even the BBB. For a comprehensive checklist on how to check out a child care program visit http://thechildcaresquare.com/doing_your_research.php

3.     Include your child in the decision – A week or more in a program that your child dislikes can be an eternity for both your child – and you. Make sure to interview your child as to the kinds of things they are interested in participating in this summer and have your child weigh in on picking which programs to sign up with.

4.     Try to enroll with a friend – Even the most gregarious children can experience angst when faced with a new situation and new people. The transition to a new environment can often go off without a hitch when there is a buddy in toe.

5.     Mitigate separation anxiety – Children who experience separation anxiety or are shy can find the short stay in a new environment uncomfortable at best. The best remedy for separation anxiety is information, information, and more information. Keep your child completely in the loop as to where the camp is, what they will be doing while at camp and how long they will be there etc. If possible, pay a pre-first-day visit to the facility so your child can meet the staff ahead of time. Visit the program’s website and Facebook page and any other social media sites to see pictures of some of the activities and the children having fun.

6.     Fees and Discounts – Be sure to inquire about additional fees or even discounts. The base tuition may be what you are quoted when you inquire about a program, but there may also be additional fees for special activities, events or field trips that are planned.

7.     The right clothes can make or break the experience – Be sure your child is dressed appropriately. Summer activities often involve water, mud, sand, watermelon and/or pie eating contests and more, hence, expect messiness. One of my best tips for parents is to visit your local second hand store and buy 6 or 8 outfits that are “camp only” clothes. This relieves everyone from worrying about stained-beyond-salvage situations. And don’t forget about appropriate shoes. Shoes with laces or buckles are out. Sandals can be a tripping hazard. So if sandals are worn they should be in good condition and fit well. And finally, use a Sharpie to label everything with your child’s last name.

8.     Stay up on communication – After you decide on a program, make sure you are signed up on any email list that the program uses to communicate with parents. Also be sure to join any social media they participate in so you can stay abreast of any and all new development that will affect your child’s participation.

9.     Read the fine print – Generally there is plenty of paperwork that goes along with signing your child up for any camp program. Be sure to carefully review program details for items like extra registration or insurance fees, closure days that are out of the ordinary or maybe special fieldtrips that you may want to participate in.

10.  Consider traffic patterns – When evaluating summer camp programs, they will likely be located outside of your normal routes. Summer traffic patterns can be different than when school is in session and can cause extended time on the road.

Summer can be a nice break for working parents — no homework to supervise or lunches to pack. A little planning can make it even better!



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Summer: Time to recharge, regain work life balance

At the start of each summer, I make a list of projects I want to tackle and skills I want to update as the pace of life and work slows down. For me, it's time to bring balance back into my life…to spend one on one time with each of my kids, to clean my cluttered garage, to set career strategy for the rest of the year.

I'm not alone. Lots of others out there look at summer the same way I do — as a chance to reclaim work life balance.

Here's my article from today's Miami Herald that may give you ideas for how to spend your lazy days of summer more productively.

Lazy summer days are time to recharge


Executives and companies are using summer 2014 to clear their heads and prepare for a busy fall.



Eric Poses plans to combine work and family time with a two-month, 24-state family road trip promoting his game business.


As the temperature rises and the day lengthens, summer slowdown creeps into almost every workplace. But this summer, a growing number of professionals are strategically using the downtime to rebalance.

Experts estimate that when vacation mindset seeps into offices during summer, productivity slips by as much as 20 percent. Rather than give in, some professionals are tackling to-do lists, researching new projects and brainstorming fresh ideas — activities that get ignored during busier times.

Duree Ross looks at the sluggish season as a time to rethink processes at work and home. After she sent her two children to sleep-away camp last week, she took a deep breath and began strategizing how she will break out time from her daily life — chauffeuring kids, spending time with her her husband — to build her Fort Lauderdale public relations/events firm.

Dureevacation“My husband and I are going to Colorado and we are going to spend time together like before we had kids. We haven’t had that in 11 years,” she said. When she returns, Ross will focus her attention on aspects of her business that usually get ignored during busier times, such as updating her bio and website, and retooling marketing materials. “This is an opportunity to refresh in all aspects of my life.”


Some professionals are using summer months to sharpen skills. Barrett Wolf, director of office leasing at Turnberry Associates in Aventura, has hired a business coach and enrolled in Florida International University’s Summer of Well-being course to work on his mental strength — activities he can’t fit in during the rest of the year. “Normally, I’m 24/7. I’m using the slower months of summer to create a vision in my head for what I want for fall,” he said.

A former professional tennis player, Wolf now leases office buildings, restaurant space and aviation hangars. He is meeting twice a week with his performance coach to mentally prepare for stressful situations ahead, such as bringing a complicated negotiation to a positive conclusion. “With my new skills, I will be able to attack every scenario head on.”

Miami business coach Marlene Green says summer is for big-picture thinking about moving forward in your career and personal life. It’s a natural fit, she finds. “The heat alone makes you slow down and take inventory.”

Look at what you have accomplished and either reward yourself or set goals for the second half of the year, she said. To accomplish more, she recommends reflecting, particularly after a few years of feeling insecure about the economy. “Summertime is the time to look at how are we coming across and what we need to adjust.”

It’s also time to recharge. Green says she encourages her clients to try something new at work and home, catch up with friends, have dinner parties, exercise — all the things that make workers less susceptible to burnout during the busier time of the year. “Summer is about regrouping and regenerating so that in fall, you’re raring to go.”

Inside the workplace, managers are using the seasonal slowdown to improve teamwork and collaboration.

For instance, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, VS Brooks Advertising in Coral Gables goes into summer mode. The office shuts at 1 p.m. on Fridays. On Thursday, employees enjoy a two-hour long catered lunch (last week they watched the World Cup), and one night a week, the staff does yoga together.

“We encourage everyone to recharge to get through the marathon that is the fourth quarter,” said co-owner Diana Brooks. But most important, Brooks said, she gathers all staff one day a week to brainstorm about the agency and client growth — with every department included. “We’re bonding as a team so that when we’re in the trenches, we’re already very collaborative.”

Some entrepreneurs want to build that same collaboration with their families, a difficult task when they spend long hours on their business most of the year. They find opportunity in the more measured pace of summer.

Eric Poses, the Miami Beach founder of the 17-year-old company All Things Equal and FamilyAndPartyGames.com, has set out on a two-month, 24-state road trip in a company RV with his wife and kids, determined to combine work and family time. In each state, he is participating in “Meet the Inventor” events and hands-on demonstrations at local toy shops to promote his board games.

“I think it’s really going to reignite a passion for my work and build momentum going into the holidays,” Poses said. “For me, it is a really good use of summertime. I hope my kids love it.”

This year, more small business owners are gaining a semblance of a work/life balance by taking a vacation. As many as 60 percent of them are planning to take one full week of summer vacation, up from a record low last year of 49 percent, according to the American Express OPEN Spring 2014 Small Business Monitor.

Business owners like ad agency co-owner Brooks plan to use their vacations productively. Brooks, a single mom, is taking a two-week vacation with her daughter on the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas.

“It’s the Mom alone time that’s so hard to get during the rest of the year,” she said. She is taking a journal to capture her creative thoughts and “aha” moments around business strategy. “I’ve found with rest comes great ideas.”

The Work/Life Balancing Act

The Challenge of Returning from Summer Vacation


Return from vacationThis week, I returned from a two-week vacation. I know that's a luxury for many workers and I feel fortunate. But what I didn't count on is how difficult it would be to return. 

Yes, I feel refreshed as most experts say workers will be after time off. Vacation regularly is touted as the key to work life balance.  I completely agree.

But I put a lot of small things off as I prepared for my vacation. And, because of the difficultly getting WiFi abroad, I also put off responding to email during my vacation. So now, I return to hundreds of emails and other work responsibilities and I long to be in the carefree vacation mindset.

Not only did I put off work tasks. I put off home tasks too. My son needs a haircut. The fish tank needs to be cleaned.

And here I am…longing to be at a hotel relishing a buffet breakfast.

Has the return from vacation ever been this difficult for you?

Jet lag hasn't made the situation any better for me. Yesterday, I feel asleep face down on my laptop.

I know the answer to my return from vacation blues would have been to get more done before I left and tend to my emails during my vacation. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation, stayed in complete vacation mindset, and I'm paying for it now.

Life is always a trade off.

As of today, I'm looking forward….no more pining for my carefree days of vacationing abroad. In the work life balance equation, I'm going to focus on work now. However, I just may reward myself with a night swim if I have a productive day.

How have you handled returning from a longer vacation? Is there anything that made the transition back to work easier for you? 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

The Secret to a More Productive Summer



These last few weeks, work life balance has been elusive. I've been crazed with the wind down of the school year and the multitude of awards ceremonies, graduation parties and performances.


Now here comes summer, a chance to break from routine and put a little more fun into my life. I'm looking forward to it!


I'm also looking forward to using the slow season to my advantage and making my summer productive. I bet you are too. If all of us are strategic, we can emerge from summer more relaxed, fulfilled, and well positioned for career success.


Here are a few ways to go about it:


1. Scope out the competition. Summer presents an ideal opportunity to study your competitors and find out what they're doing right. Research what marketing materials they are using and how they are embracing social networks. Seek opinions from customers and figure out what you might want to replicate. or improve upon. 


2. BrainstormIt can be challenging to think big picture when you're shuttling kids to school, helping with homework or working on a giant office project. As clients and co-workers take their vacations, use the slow time to come up with new ideas, campaigns, or approaches to doing business or solving problems. Make it fun. Take a walk at lunch or eat on a bench and come up with new ways to be better at what you do.


3. Get out of the office. Take advantage of somewhat lighter summer schedules and extend an invitation to a someone in your industry you've wanted to get to know. Busy people are more likely to say yes during summer. It's also a good time to go to networking events, conferences or host an office barbecue.


4. Assess. You probably set goals or made resolutions in January. Review them and figure out whether you're on pace to meet them by the end of the year. If you find yourself falling short, either adjust your expectations or figure out what changes to make. You may even want to set new goals to hit by year end.


5. Learn a new skill. Have you wanted to learn how to use Twitter or Pinterest? Do you want to get a better understanding of business terms or learn how to make flan? How-to Webinars, tutorials and online courses abound on the Internet. Set aside a block of time each week for learning.


6. Refresh Websites and Social Media Profiles. Having your online information as current as possible will help you in business. People often look for you online before they call you. Update your profile information in the "about" sections of social networks and create a Wikipedia page for yourself.


7. Go somewhereGetting away gives you perspective. A week vacation is ideal but not everyone can take time off. Look at how you can rearrange your schedule to zip somewhere for a long weekend or overnight trip. Even if you don't travel far, a shift in scenery can make you feel far away and help you head into Fall feeling refreshed.



Have a fun and productive summer!



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Summer is here! Finding a gym that works with your life

Raise your hand if you are you dreading summer swimsuit season and wishing you had made more time in your schedule for working out? Ugh, my hand is up! Lured by "special deals" I now belong to two gyms and rarely go to either one. Whenever my work life balance gets thrown off kilter, exercise is the first to go.

BrettBrett Graff, author of The Home Economist, knows all about squeezing exercise into a busy day. Brett is a mother of two, a former US government economist who today writes about how economic forces affect real people. Her column – The Home Economist – runs in newspapers nationwide. Brett  provides great advice for saving  money and finding a gym that works with your life. If you're thinking of joining a gym to get into swimsuit shape fast before you head off on summer vacation, here are Brett's suggestions for what to ask:

1) Do you have to pay extra for classes? It’s hard enough putting on spandex and looking at yourself in the mirror for an hour. But force us to pay an extra $ 25 for the privilege and suddenly, breakfast sounds like a better idea. Make sure yoga or spinning or whatever is included.

2) What’s the number of members? Many gyms set no membership limits. It might not be crowded when you visit, but be packed during peak hours or after a membership drive. The most honest answer comes from yourself after you make a surprise visit at the time you plan to work out.

3) What are the hours of operation? Because you can’t burn calories if you get there when the place is closed.

4) What’s the cooling off or trial period? Because even if it costs a little more each month, if you’re not enjoying the membership or using it as much as you planned, you will have saved yourself years of payments.

5) When does the special introductory rate end? Make sure you know exactly when the discounted stops and the amount of the price hike taking it’s place.

6) Can I take the contract home? If someone’s pressuring you to sign on the spot, you may wonder why.


ExerciseAccording to Statisticbrain.com people spend an average of $ 55 a month on gym memberships. The average amount of gym membership money that goes to waste is $ 39 a month. Are you participating in that ugly trend?

If you really want to work out and think you might not stick with it, look for gyms that offer pay-as-you-go memberships or short-term passes. Of course, a walk around the block is a cheap way to get started and can fit into almost anyone's schedule. As Nike says, just do it!

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Summer time challenges facing divorced parents

A  friend of mine called me all worked up. She wants to take a summer vacation with her kids. But the week that she can take off work is the same week her ex-husband wanted to take vacation with the kids. She  explained to me that summer can be the most challenging time of year for divorced parents. She and her ex-husband must negotiate her children's summer activities, their vacation schedules, their camp schedules, who will pay for camp and whether there's child care coverage for the full summer. 

"It can be expensive and it can get ugly" she told me.  

Roberta Stanley, a partner who practices family law at Brinkley Morgan, says she's been called in when all kinds of summer challenges arise for divorced parents. Some of the typical issues that arise are whether parents can take kids out of the country on vacation, who will pay for summer camp, and what age is appropriate to make a child get a summer job. Stanley points out that an arrangement negotiated as part of a divorce settlement when a child is 5 may need revision when a child turns 15.

For her part, Stanley says she tries to get as specific as possible when she writes up an agreement between divorced parents concerning summer,kids and work schedules. "If you're specific and there's a dispute, you don’t have to pay lawyer again because everyone knows how it works, she said.  "Specifics breed flexibility and cooperation. A parent realizes that if I don’t cooperate when you need a deviation, you won’t cooperate when I need one."

Divorce attorney Barry Finkel says work schedules almost always play a big factor in summer challenges for divorced parents. For example, one parent may want to take an extended vacation; the other may have a job that affords little time off. "If one parent wants to take the child on a trip, try to work out the schedule well enough in advance to schedules can be juggled or changes can be made," he says.

Vicki Larson recently wrote an interesting piece titled: "Is Divorce Easier If You Don't Have Kids?" Her conclusion — sometimes, but not always. I wonder what my friend battling over summer issues with her ex would think about that conclusion?

Yes, even without kids, divorce can present challenges at work. A recent article in the Sun Sentinel focused on how the stress of a divorce can potentially hurt someone's career. "Those going through divorce may find their employer subpoenaed for information, their business in jeopardy or their chance for a promotion disappearing," the article noted.

On the flip side, Elinor Robin, a family mediator in Boca Raton, told the Sentinel that people often do better in their careers after divorce. "In the long run, divorce may ultimately prove to be a career booster. … When the focus is off the marriage, the focus can be on the career," she said.

My conclusion: divorce sounds stressful. It appears pretty obvious that summer, kids, work schedules and ex-spouses can be a lot to juggle. Yet, it seems to me it's well worth the effort to make the balancing act as pain free as possible. 


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Smartphone addiction and summer travel

Every summer, my family vacation is a negotiation when it comes to wireless gadgets. It starts before we even leave the house. Will my husband bring his work laptop? Will I? Should the kids bring their cell phones? I'd like to ban all electronics but I usually get vetoed.

When I think about it, it's not the gadgets we're arguing over, it's what we do with the gadgets that creates the problem. They pull us into a virtual world that takes away from connecting with the people around us.

Of course, my husband argues that he needs to check in with work. Many people feel that way. Checking in now and then is one thing. Smartphone addiction is another. From the palm of our hand we can connect with our offices, and some people just can't disconnect. It really stinks if you're the person traveling with the smartphone addict. 

Leslie Perlow, a Harvard Business School professor and author of Sleeping With Your Smartphone  thinks people can beat smartphone addiction and take real vacations if they work in teams. Important things come up and someone needs to handle them, she says. "But there's no reason you have to be on all the time." If you work as a team and have the conversation where everyone gets the same benefit ( a stress free vacation or one night a week off),there are lots of ways to cover for each other, she says. "It's about being proactive."

Today, in my Miami Herald column I wrote about the effect of smart phone addiction on spouses, partners, friends and travel companions. If you've can relate, let me hear from you. How do you handle it being around a smartphone addict?

The Miami Herald

Smartphone addiction can put damper on vacations, relationships

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

Tim Lee / MCT
On vacation, Annabel Fernandez watched incredulously as her husband splashed in the pool of a beachfront resort with their twin daughters. Between the giggling and water play, she saw him glancing at his iPhone on the pool’s ledge. The night before, she had caught him checking email on his smartphone under the table at dinner.

“I started realizing it was an addiction,” she said. “I felt like we were losing him to a screen.”

As the number of smartphone users rises, so does the level of anxiety and friction around using them. Downsizing and economic realities have left workers with a real fear of what might happen if they are out of touch too long. Will the client go elsewhere? Will the boss find a new protégé? The fear has turned into a compulsion that has workers tethered to their mobile phones — even when they’re supposed to be off the clock.

But for the spouse, partner, friend, or travel companion of a smartphone addict, the fear can ruin a vacation, a night out or worse — a relationship.

“When you’re on the phone you’re ignoring the person you are traveling with; that creates resentment,” says Kimberly Young, a psychologist and director of Center for Internet Addiction Recovery.

The digitally hooked often overlook the toll on their companions. Married to an attorney, Bob Greene says it completely unnerves him to watch his wife’s reaction to an incoming work-related email. “We’re supposed to be on vacation relaxing, and I can see that something at the office didn’t go her way. It not only stresses her out, it stressed me out, too.”

While smartphone addiction has been difficult to track, in a survey by mobile-services provider  iPass, 91 percent of mobile users said they use their free time, both day and night, to check their smartphones. Among those, almost 30 percent check their smartphones three to five times an hour, and 20 percent check them five to 10 times an hour. Young calls anxiety around constant connectivity “a chronic and universal problem.”

Travel companions say the problem often comes to a head on vacation or during leisure activity when the goal is to reconnect and their partner sends the message that business is a priority. Companions say they find themselves torn between bringing the smartphone user into the present and coming across as a nag.

Miami marketing strategist Michelle Villalobos says the only way to travel with a smartphone addict is to establish the rules upfront, before the loaded minivan leaves the driveway. “If you wait until you’re in the moment, you find yourself in the situation where the other person is looking at you like ‘who are you, the cellphone police?’ When traveling, she and her boyfriend not only set the time when they will check in with work, they also set the place — for example only in the hotel room in the early morning hours.

Making the rules together and negotiating is key. Some people really do need to be accessible and forcing them to disconnect could create business challenges, Young says. “You may need to accept a middle ground, and instead of setting overall vacation rules, set daily rules based on what everyone needs.”

Read more


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/10/v-print/2890154/smartphone-addiction-can-put-damper.html#storylink=cpy


The Work/Life Balancing Act