The Wifi Free Wilderness

I had a great time on vacation last week in Vermont.

I think part of what made it so great was that for whole chunks of time each day I was able to completely unplug.

Not just metaphorically, but literally.

My cell phone didn’t work in the house where we were staying and most of my outdoor time (on the slopes, in the woods snowshoeing) I was also blissfully out of range.

I think we’ve forgotten how wired we are all the time…until we’re not.

And it’s amazing. Quiet, peaceful, and the world doesn’t stop turning or go  to pot, because we can’t be reached or can’t immediately respond to every email or text.

My only disappointment was that for the first time in all the years we’ve been going there, the house we were staying at had been wired for wifi access.

Making Working from Home, Work

Snow is blanketing much of the North East and schools are closed and businesses are urging many people not to commute. So maybe you, like me, are working from home today.

Maybe this is a once in a while occurrence, or maybe it’s part of your regular routine.

But it got me thinking about an article I read in the MIT Sloan Management Review titled Set Up Remote Workers to Thrive and how to make working from home work (for entrepreneurs or both employee and employer).


According to the article, more than 10% of the 2010 work force telecommutes from home, more than triple the levels of 2000.

Lots of forces are at play here. Better remote technology, a shift towards more freelance labor particularly in areas like IT, accounting and public relations.  I am sure there is also a rise in consultants due to the downsizing in many large corporations that also contributes to this rising trend.

The article sites some clear cost savings benefits for employers; IBM saves $100 Million a year by allowing 42% of employees to work remotely.

There are also many benefits for employees including more flexibility, lower commuting costs, and saved commuting time which presumably can be re-invested in family time.

There are also several challenges outlined;

#1 Finding the Right Work-Life Balance

#2 Overcoming Workplace Isolation


How good are you at saying “No”?

In a recent post on What Would Make Women Happier, learning to say no more was ranked as number #9. Interestingly it didn’t make the top 10 for the men’s list.

Personally I struggle with this a lot. It’s just not in my nature to say no. I love to help people and give advice etc. But lately I feel a bit overwhelmed. And when I over commit and end up participating in things I just don’t have the time and energy for I feel worse because I can feel that resentment bubbling up and probably showing through. I am wondering how other BrandTwist readers (men and women) deal with this. Any advice on how decide when to say “no” and how to stick with it?

Death by Chocolate

My name is Julie and I am a Chocaholic.

Not to belitte anyone else’s addiction, but this is a serious problem for me.

And it’s become virtually impossible to control, because I am not sure if you’ve noticed, but right now chocolate is EVERYWHERE!! It’s in Holiday gift boxes sent to my office, from well-meaning friends bringing over hostess gifts and perhaps most importantly and most surprisingly in EVERY SINGLE DRUG STORE AISLE IN THE FORM OF VALENTINE’S GIFTS.

What did I miss?

Since when does Valentine’s Day start on January 4th?

Hello. We should at least have a 2-week grace period until January 15th. Right?

I know retailer’s are hard up…but trust me there is just not that much love to celebrate.

5 Creative Gifts that Won’t Break the Bank


Holidays, and especially holiday gift giving, can be extremely taxing.

But this year why not take a step back and create something special?

Save the physically draining desperate crawl around the mall.

Pour a  glass of wine or a mug of cocoa and spend a bit more mental energy dreaming up something unique.

You might find it doesn’t take a lot more time, and it definitely won’t cost more.

Plus I always find I get more joy in giving (and getting) creative gifts.

Here are some ideas:

5 Creative Gift Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

1. Write a Special Letter.
Think about what you love and admire about someone and put it down in writing.

Not to be too morbid, but think about what you would say about them if they were gone and write it now to share with them while they can really appreciate it.