Quarantine life: 21 fun tasks for 21 days

India is now under 21 days of lock-down. A hopeful and a precautionary step to protect us from the deadly pandemic. Enough has been discussed and written about the virus, so let’s not embark on that journey. Instead, we can plan and transform these 21 days into something exciting as well as apply it as a stress-free therapy for working parents.

Apart from the daily routine work of child-rearing and household tasks in collaboration with office duties, working parents can opt to do these 21 fun tasks for the next 21 days. Let’s begin-

Day 1- Play indoor games

Board games are a savior. If you don’t possess any, then try dumb charades or Pictionary. Hide & seek is another viable option. Family games are absolute fun!

Day 2- Clean your house plants

With the amount of pollution that we survive in, it’s natural for a household to host indoor plants. Take out some good time and clean those greens. Parents can involve their kids in this activity. It will bring them closer to nature.

Day 3- Cook together

Whether it’s fixing a snack for the kids or making dinner (keeping in mind the limited availability of resources), make sure you do it as a couple. These small moments will offer you both a chance to chat and reminisce about your best moments together. In urgent times as such, couples need to be at their best partnership.

Day 4- Read books

In this digital world, kids making it a habit to read books is like a breath of fresh air. Parents can lead the way by reading together with them before bedtime.

Day 5- Organise a movie night

This is everybody’s favorite. A weekend movie marathon with family is always a good idea.

Day 6- Give the physical activity a roll

Spread out the yoga mats and spend quality time stretching your body to give the rest it deserves. With meditation, your tired mind will open up and offer more space to fresh thoughts.

Day 7- Explore ways to save money

With the grappling economy scenario, it is inevitable for couples to discuss and devise methods to maintain the budget and save money.

Day 8- Conduct a family photoshoot

The lockdown has forced people to be indoors. That means everyone in the family is home. So now it can be a good time to get dressed and pose for the perfect family picture.

Day 9- Call up family and friends

Getting to know that everyone you love and care for is safe is definitely the best feeling in the world. So take this quarantine period as an opportunity to call up long lost friends or face time with your extended family. This gesture will impart positivity and radiate immense love among all of you.

Day 10- Watch travel vlogs

Maybe it’s going to take some time to check off your family travel bucket list, but no worries. Watch interesting travel vlogs on YouTube. It can also serve as a learning tool for kids.

Day 11- Spread the joy of color

Kids love colors. So why don’t you let them get messy in their attempt to do something creative? An empty canvas and a box filled with colors are all you need. Let their imaginations flow. Parents try it too. It’s therapeutic!

Day 12- Dance your heart out

What else can be more relaxing than dancing your stress out? Put on some fun music, gather your kids, and let your body sway to the rhythm.  Also, it can be a helpful tip to put your hyperactive children now tired because of the dance party to bed on time.

Day 13- Scrub and mask

Homemade packs and scrubs work wonders on our bodies. But in situations of no access to ingredients, you just need lukewarm water and a loofah. A home spa day is an ideal idle time.

Day 14- Host an English tea party

Sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be a literal garden tea party. Spending a simple but cozy evening with the elders of your family and talking over a cup of chai is a good way to keep boredom at bay.

Day 15- Start a debate

No, we are not talking about picking up a fight. A healthy conversation with your partner on a trending topic apart from the global pandemic is what we meant. Each of you can bring to the table varied POV of the same story. It can be a ritual to keep yourself updated with the world.

Day 16- Tell bed-time stories

Kids nowadays can be least expected to know about the two great Indian epics- The Mahabharata and The Ramayana. With the fast-moving times, parents also lost track of time to make their children familiar with the stories. But now is the time! Bed-time stories can be the passage for the kids to enter into the world of fascinating Indian tales.

Day 17- Do some spring cleaning

One piece of furniture or one room at a time but begin the long-overdue spring cleaning.

Day 18- Learn the name of all your kid’s friends

This is a valid task that we tend to ignore. But your kid’s friend circle tells a lot about your child. Also, your interest to know your kid’s friends will excite your kid too. The more kids you have, the more names you need to remember.

Day 19- Keep a journal

This is an unprecedented time in our history. So make it a habit to keep a journal to record your day to day activities. Your kids can do the same too. They can draw out their feelings if too young to write. This will help them document their lives in a national emergency and remain as a reminder as they grow up.

Day 20- Do nothing

Don’t push yourselves too hard. Living in quarantine can be difficult but not impossible if you stay calm. So on a certain day pause, and take a break. No activities. No hustling. Just your family and you being thankful and mindful of Mother nature.

Day 21- Remain positive

Last but not least, don’t forget to make the list of stuff you are going to do with your family once this is over.

SOMEDAY OR OTHER IT WILL ALL COME TO AN END.


In times of Corona: A working mother’s guide to remote working

Coronavirus outbreak, now declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, is taking the world by storm. Every age group, every gender, and every profession from around the globe is hit by this severe disease. Hand washing is a daily ritual. Social distancing is the mantra to live by. A large public gathering is an offense. Educational institutions are on standby. And working from home is the new normal.

As we can witness the dynamic shift in everything because of the global adversity scenario, couples are also making tough decisions on how to divide their share of unpaid labor. In solution, the lives of a large sum of working mothers are not the same anymore. The kids are at home. The elderly have been confined to indoors. The house help and baby sitters have been sent away on paid leave fearing the risk of contagion. And the working mother is unconsciously left to deal with taking care of the kids, combating this infectious disease to ensure her family is safe with the equal focus of meeting the deadlines at work. In addition to that, the majority of social and health workers comprises of women. They are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19, thus, putting them at a greater risk of getting infected.

Coronavirus might bring out the ugly side of gender equality. Couples might suddenly find themselves caught in the argument of who is going to be a breadwinner and who can play the role of a homeworker. Instead of a hard core debate on equality, let’s think and devise the solutions to streamline a woman’s daily routine.

  • Reject the work-life balance myth

First and foremost, it’s only fair if we agree that we can’t have it all. Work and life don’t have to be a tug of war. Instead, develop a synergy between the two and bridge the guilt gap when you have to unplug. It is Work-Life integration like no other time.

  • Set a consistent morning routine

Make a to-do list. Schedule your tasks with a proper timeline. Easy to say and easier to do. The hardest tasks on your to-do list should be completed as when you feel the sharpest and focused.

  • Engage your kids in an activity

Before you sit down to officially begin your work, keep your kids busy with some interesting – craft or puzzle activity. This can also act as letting your kids know that you are in a ‘do not disturb’ mode. While cutting down screen time is healthy, allowing them one while you wind up an important meeting is the smart way to do it.

  • Get on the same page with your partner

Just like you brainstorm ideas in a conference room, in a similar manner use your living room to formulate a game plan with your parenting partner to share the responsibilities of child care and housework. The best example: alternate shifts with your partner if he’s working from home too.

  • Ask for help

It takes a village to raise a child. So asking or taking help from a family member or a friend is not a sign of weakness. In times of Corona, just be cautious of the hygiene habits of the individual taking care of your kids. The same goes for relying on a colleague to help with your project if you are away handling mother duties.

  • Communicate

It’s mandatory to be transparent to your co-workers about your necessity to meet your kid’s needs. In between video conferences, it’s suitable to give the other person a heads up on your work from home environment.

Times are difficult. But this shall pass if the best of human nature can rise to the challenge. Your kids and your parents are the ones who need the utmost care during this time. So even with the lockdown and the pressure of working from home, savour the small moments with your kids and the elderly. Take timely breaks, and have a hearty chat with them. Boost their immunity (don’t forget yours). Sanitize at regular intervals.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Likewise, in this hassle of work-life integration, your family’s well-being is the silver lining. Because in times of Corona, you need your loved ones to be safe more than a pat on your back for being a superwoman.


PASSIVE JOB SEEKERS – NO MORE A ‘DRY’ PHRASE

Article by: Dr. Divya Kumar, Associate Manager – Research, Avtar Group

I was on my return flight to my home, after a day-long of a session with a bunch of women professionals. It was a session with successful women professionals in managerial positions proud “working mommies” with close ten to twelve years of work experience. It was a wonderful experience to hear each of their amazing narratives on their career comeback post marriage, maternity, and relocation. I was so glad to hear how their family support plays a central role in enabling these women professionals in their career progression.

One thing all women professionals put forth in common that they desired to explore new career opportunities. But, were not actively seeking nor have applied for a specific position, nevertheless was open for it. I was surprised to hear such articulation from high potential talents. It was not an expression of a bunch of women professionals but a sample of the universe of Passive job seekers. A research study indicates that passive job seekers comprise 75 percent of the total global workforce.

Passive job seekers are working professionals who are willing to learn about new career opportunities but do not actively seek out nor apply to job openings. In India, the women representation at the managerial level was only about 20 percent. Incidentally, the prime reasons that “halt” a woman from actively sought for a new job for career advancement was not external but internal.

Yes! The top challenges a woman professional faces at mid-level career stage are:

  • Unwillingness to come out of the comfort zone
  • Afraid of the market competition and fear of interview rejection
  • Missed to upgrade the technical skills with the current market trends
  • Not ready to build a network
  • Waits for employers to reach out to them with opportunities.

One should understand it is easier to break the barriers within oneself. Actions taken now can pay off significantly later. Here are some of the key pointers passive job seekers can keep in mind.

Analyze what you want.

Do a quick SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analyses on yourself and list down all on a blackboard.  It is a comprehensive strategy for identifying not only the weaknesses and threats of a plan of action but also the strengths and opportunities it makes possible. This exercise will force you to look at your career in new ways and from new directions.

Be an active LinkedIn user

Your LinkedIn account will give you the ability to exhibit your career profile, areas of expertise, recommendations, and connections. In recent years recruiters and employers use LinkedIn extensively to search for potential candidates. It is the first professional impression of you but also demonstrates the credibility in your industry and highlights your achievements. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups such as job search groups, alumni groups, and networking groups. Set the email notifications for each group to weekly updates.

Networking

Experts advocate that the most connected people are often the most successful. Networking is not just to have someone on your email list, or have them as a friend on LinkedIn or Facebook.  Putting in a little effort can serve as an avenue to foster long-term relationships with mutual benefits.  Send your contacts personalized updates regularly. Never miss opportunities like meeting clients or superior to your career path could be a stepping stone that could transform your life for the betterment. Don’t be hesitant to offer your help if you can, also, do not be skeptical to ask for help.

Appraise the trends and develop your skills

Staying abreast of what’s going on in your field becomes essential as it offers immense benefits to professionals across job roles and industries. Check out the online certification courses, training and workshops sessions for professionals through your networks and social groups. It enables you to be up-to-date with the latest knowledge in your key domain. Women tend to procrastinate and complain lack of time to upgrade their skills. A little effort and with your time management, certainly you can curve out.

Be interview ready

Your resume is the most important tool to advance your career. Don’t use up all your vacation or personal leave for enjoyment. Reserve some time to update your CV and all your online profile(s). Expound on your certifications, upgraded skills, professional memberships, your promotions, or even expanded responsibilities, achieved noteworthy accomplishments, etc. It should focus on your strengths. Adapt your resume for each application as each job has slightly different needs. Make sure you have a mobile-friendly version in your handset.

So, stop making excuses for why you can’t get it done and start focusing on all the reasons why you MUST make it. I bet you will make a DIFFERENCE.


5 MUST READ BOOKS FOR WOMEN IN TECH

Over the years, women have contributed to and shaped the evolution of many fields including technology. Women were among the first programmers, pioneers of software compilers and code-breakers who helped to turn the tide of world wars. While these success stories are heartening to read, there are also equally inspiring and challenging stories of female tech workers, who face and work through the male-dominated tech society to make their mark. 

Read More » “5 MUST READ BOOKS FOR WOMEN IN TECH”


6 Must Read Books For Women Getting Started In Their Careers

Must Read books for Career

Whether you are looking for career advice or a piece of friendly suggestions on overcoming a specific challenge or you need a kick to transform yourself completely, a good book can be your friend in need. Books broaden a person’s horizon, helps with written and verbal communication skills and can help you unwind and relax. Whether you are the CEO of a large conglomerate or just want proof that your hard work pays off, some nice titles could inspire you with antidotes and sage wisdom.

Read More » “6 Must Read Books For Women Getting Started In Their Careers”


10 Tips To Negotiate That Pay Rise You Want

10 tips to Negotiate the Pay Rise that You Want

You have sweated it out for the entire year, aced challenging assignments, nailed high-profile deals and felt like a shining star. When it is time to bring all this up at the discussion table for an appropriate reward or compensation hike, you must put your best foot forward. Here are a few ways you can adopt to make the conversation meaningful and make your boss look at the things, your way.

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10 Tips To Take Your Career To The Next Level

Taking your career to next level

Companies across the globe are working with tighter budgets and operating leaner, than before. Pay hikes and promotions in most traditional industries are tough to come by. New themes and business models are emerging today that can impact your career to great magnitudes. You must be aware of the trends and match pace with them, regardless of industry or the functional area you work in. 

  Read More » “10 Tips To Take Your Career To The Next Level”


Moving from Dependent to Independent

Changing from Dependent to Independent

Despite being multi-talented, women form a meager 26% of the workforce in India. According to research, India’s women labor force participation rate is one of the lowest in the world. What’s more alarming is that there has been a downward dip in the percentage of women in corporate in recent years, despite the economic growth the nation is making. Many qualified, talented women in India quit their high paying jobs to care for their young kids and family.

Read More » “Moving from Dependent to Independent”


5 Tips For New Moms Returning To Work

New Moms returning to work

A new mom’s entire day revolves around her baby, leaving little or no time for herself. Adding to this, a day’s work at the office might seem like an impossible task if you are on your maternity leave. With preparation and support, you can surely ace being a career woman and a rock star mommy.

Returning to work is one of the most dreaded milestones for most new moms. A million doubts might cross your mind and you could find yourself feeling thrilled, guilty, nervous and anxious, all at the same time. Here are a few things you must consider before you return to work:

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In Conversation with a Working Mother

1. Please tell us about yourself, your passions and dreams.

My name is Richa Chauhan. I reside in Baroda. We have a small family of four, apart from me – my dear husband and two sons. I am passionate about everything that is a creative medium of expression. I love writing, speaking, acting and making videos. Recently I have been attracted towards zero waste lifestyle, though not easy but I am trying my best to make a difference.

2. Was your break a conscious decision? What were the obvious fears when you started looking out for openings?

My children have never been a problem for me whenever I had thought of reviving my career, (Radio Anchor in AIR, copywriter in an Advertising Agency, now an English Teacher). The only pressure was to keep “people” happy at home. All my breaks were due to their insecurities. And I gave up thinking it as my “DUTY”. Finally had to take my stand, though changed my stream drastically but thanks to social media for being the outburst of my creative ideas.

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