Friday, August 22, 2014

Was That A Week?

A summer long ago, my mother and her sister Denise 

Wandering thoughts

Here we are in very late August. The clouds on my drive home from work were spectacular. All week they were incredible. They are so beautiful I have to turn away, watch the road. The ceiling fan is turning. I remind myself that it is Friday night. TGI. Work was intense. All of a sudden the hospital was full. Dinner is done. Wild caught Soho Salmon. I'm grateful to be home and healthly. Relax your shoulders. Let you jaw relax. The air conditioning has it's own song. I listen to it now that I am aware that it has been non-stop. The week has been the same. My daughter will have her birthday Monday. When I put a number on her years, it doesn't make sense that she is not a teenager anymore, not even a twenty something, but a thirty something. The only sound I hear now is my fingers clicking my laptop keys.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let this be a lesson to me!

Nana on the Maid of the Mist

Let this be a lesson to me!

     A few months back it was decided that I would be the one from our hospital unit that would  attend this year's Annual Conference in Buffalo, New York. Our Nurse Manager Anna did not have it in her budget for us both to go. You go, she said, but under one condition, you better have some fun at Niagara, do the social activity. I had read the brochure and had already assured myself that my good time would be had while standing in the viewing area. I was not going to get in that crazy rocking boat that was just inches from the thundering Falls. I did not tell Anna this. We'll see what happens, I told her.
     The conference was very worthwhile, the focus being the future of Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation. I was glad to be there listening to the many dedicated individuals that live their lives focused on the outcomes of patients admitted to Rehabs across the country. These units are sometimes part of hospitals or free standing. On staff at each rehab is a team of  Rehab Docs, Rehab Nurses, PCTs, Case Managers, Psychologists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists. There are less than 1500 acute Inpatient Rehabs in the United States, a relatively small number, but an absolute essential part of aftercare for people that have had strokes, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other serious medical problems. Medicare is again making changes that the Rehab industry is preparing for.  Rehabs will need strategies to continue providing the level of care that they do.
     When Thursday  arrived, it was announced that the social activity bus would be outside the Conference Center at 4:45 PM. I would have just enough time to run up to my hotel room, put on my comfortable shoes and grab a jacket.  The wind was blowing and grey clouds were gathering when I made my way to the tour bus. I stepped up and to my surprise found the bus to be almost empty. I got a seat near the window then heard someone say my name. Hi Connie, you're going on the boat? It was Joan, an RN PPS Coordinator from Ohio. We had been at the same table a few days earlier. She must have remembered seeing my name tag. I remembered hers. Oh I don't know I told her, looks a little scary. She was sitting with an older woman and a teenager. Then my mom will stay with you, she said smiling. And my daughter too! I moved back a few seats to sit with them. We chatted and were soon at the Niagara Falls.  Joan's mother had been on the boat in 1959, for her honeymoon. The Maid of the Mist  has been taking the tourists out on the river since 1846. Before I knew it I was part of the history, paying my $17.00 for the boat ride. There was no turning back. I had on my blue poncho and was climbing on to the top deck of the big tug boat.  I did get a nice mist and thrill! It was a little scary, but if I hadn't done it I may never have experienced the awesomeness of the 600,000 gallons of water per second. I would not have really been to... Niagara. (And Anna would have been disappointed!)
     Some things cannot be explained. I didn't know Joan. I didn't really have a plan for the social night. I was alone and was going to enjoy the Falls from afar  or so I thought.  Isn't  Providence wonderful?  The Universe has a plan way better than the one we have up our sleeves. Let this be a lesson to me!

 Life is a natural wonder!
Joan and her mother.

Joan's mother

Wonderful Perspective

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aiming High and Exceeding

RC Gorman from the seventies and Kenzie writing a poem
to hang on the wall for sixth grade parent's night

Yesterday, Kenz brought over her AIMS scores from last year.  She opened the sealed envelope. We were seeing her scores for the first time.
 Wow Nana, look at this!
Math, Reading, and Writing..... EXCEEDS THE STANDARDS. 
I wasn't really surprised. Kenzie is so brainy and a good test taker. I was surprised when she told me, I don't know how I did so well on the Writing section. 
700 possible. She got 672.  EXCEEDS THE STANDARD
Well let's read what this means baby girl. (I still call her my baby girl) Performance Levels  from the key. 1. Falls below the standards 2. Approaches the standard 3. Meets the standard. And ...
4.  Exceeds the Standard
Students who score at this level show skillful performance in written communication as evidenced by performing beyond the achievement goal for all students. Students who perform a this level consistently demonstrate the ability to identify  and apply superior written communication by exhibiting a strong command of language including : clear, controlled ideas and organization, wide sentence variety and impressive control of voice, conventions and word choice.
Purpose of the AIMs 3-8 is administer to determine a student degree for competency in Arizona Academic Standards for writing, reading and mathematics and science. AIMS meets both the federal and state assessment requirements. The data derived from AIMS is used to guide instruction and measure school performance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Harvard Business Review/ Nana loves these numbers!

HBR Blog Network


Relax, You Have 168 Hours This Week


There are 168 hours in a week; this is immutable truth.  That sounds like a lot, but is it really enough time to cover the demands of a successful career, family involvement, and everything else that makes up a fulfilling life? Let’s do the back-of-the-envelope calculation.
Starting with those 168 hours, first take away 49 just for sleep. Don’t try to cheat on this. If you are getting less than 7 hours a night, you are probably not resting enough, and your decreased performance will take its toll on the rest of the hours of the week.
So you’ve really got 119 hours. Let’s assume you’re an ambitious professional and subtract 56 for work. That would amount to working 8 hours a day, 7 days a week – or, if your weekends are off-limits, 11+ hours a day on weekdays only. I know some of you put in more time than this. However, outside of very few professions (and peak times at others) no one really needs to – so if you do, you are probably working inefficiently or being pressured to uphold unrealistic expectations. In fact, research shows that productivity craters after 6 hours a day. If you work more than 56 hours a week, you may need to examine your time use.
Assuming 56, then, you still have 63 hours. But take out two more chunks of non-fun activity – 7 hours per week of commuting, and 13 hours per week of errands and routine housework – and you’re down to 43 hours. This is the amount of time you have for family and other aspects of life.
Childcare, cooking, and other responsibilities on the home front certainly take effort, but they can also serve as family connecting time. Let’s put you down for 20 hours of those.
Guess what: that leaves you with a full 23 hours. Maybe you’ve been saying you don’t have time for exercise, but it seems you do (and exercise makes you more effective the rest of your week at work and at home). Let’s devote 3 hours to that – and still give you 20 hours of free time to do whatever else makes you happy and healthy. It’s surprising, isn’t it: with a little prioritizing and planning, work and life aren’t so impossible to balance.
So here’s the real question:  Why are we always so stretched? Why doesn’t 168 hours actually feel like enough time?  I can name three culprits: time sucks, time confetti, and technology. And those suggest three ways to get your life back.
Don’t succumb to time sucks. These are those trivial activities that, once you get into them, are so comfortable that you just keep doing them. It takes real resolve to limit yourself to just a few hours of TV or gaming a week, or just one fantasy sports team, or just 30 minutes a day on Facebook. But try keeping a keeping a diary and adding up the hours you’re spending now, and you might just gain that resolve.
Stop tossing time confetti. In her book Overwhelmed, author Brigid Schulte makes an important distinction between time chunks and time confetti. The best way to use your free time, and make it really feel like free time, is to block it off in chunks. A dedicated hour of play with your kids feels like more time than four quick, distracted 15-minute interactions in between other stuff. The big problem with time confetti, Schulte says, is that it amounts to “contaminated time” which prevents pure enjoyment, relaxation, focus, and mindfulness.
Start being the boss of your technology. Smartphones, email, and other communication technology are great assets in the quest to get the most out of a day, but they can also create the perceived need to be accessible to work 24/7. Set limits such as “no screen hours,” letting everyone at work know the single time you’ll check email each night, and banning devices from the dinner table or family room. Lots of others have written about how unplugging actually leads to higher productivity.
I’m surely not the first to point out that your week contains 168 hours. It’s a staple of time management books and courses, as seen here and here. But until you go through the exercise yourself of adding up your weekly commitments, you probably won’t find the almost three hours per day potentially left over. Of course, all our situations differ, and some face more challenges and time commitments than others, but knowing that you have 168 hours might be the motivation you need to prioritize and make the changes that will make life more satisfying.

More blog posts by


Scott Behson is a Professor of Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a busy, involved dad. He runs the Fathers, Work and Family blog, and writes on work and family issues for Time, WSJ and the Huffington Post. Follow him on Twitter @ScottBehson.

Total Pageviews