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Cindy Auten Headshot

My Balancing Act

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Friday at 4:45 a.m. - The baby wakes up. The older sibling hears and also wakes up. It's not even close to dawn. Your "I'll work out before the kids wake up" is out the window.

Forget TGIF, I say TGFC -- Thank Goodness for Coffee.

6:30 a.m. - Kids dressed and fed. Goldfish are okay for breakfast, right? Lunch packed for school. Where's the dog? Geez, is that a dust bunny attacking the baby?

Finally, it's go time. Kids off to school/care. The house is silent. I hear barking -- hey, found the dog.

8:30 a.m. - Warming up the coffee and starting up my alternate car, the laptop.

Let's face it, we are all performing the ultimate balancing act. October is National Work and Family Month, and it's a great reminder that we are balancing our families, our careers, and our lives. This balancing act remains a hot topic in today's competitive, career-driven society.

I would be lying to you if I said I don't struggle with the balance -- I think we all do at times. I would pay money for more time in the day, I count the hours that I have with the family, and savor the weekends. So what's my secret (okay, it's not a secret) to it all? I telework.

I don't stress about my commute. That's because it doesn't exist. While some get up at the 4 o'clock hour to shuffle into the city, I get that time (mostly hectic,"Why are you crying?") with my family.

Today's mobile world helps. We are more connected than ever, thanks to smartphones, tablets, and technologies that allow us to do just about anything from anywhere. Have an important meeting at work right before your daughter's dance recital? No problem -- join the meeting via videoconferencing and you'll still be able to collaborate with your colleagues before watching her nail that pirouette. Waiting for an important email during your son's soccer game? Check your work email on your phone with remote access tools.

Of course, balance is the key word here. We all have work responsibilities and obligations that we cannot miss. Leverage the technology to stay connected. When you don't need it, disconnect. Easier said than done. In all seriousness, make sure to take the time to watch that pirouette, the soccer game, and enjoy the balance of it all.

Cindy Auten is the general manager at Mobile Work Exchange. By 10:30 a.m. she enjoyed two cups of coffee and hours in her home office.