It was a big decision whether we should do reality TV. Since mostly only people with crazy, falling-apart lives do reality TV, I realized that to feel good about doing the show, I’d have to think about it as a job. Otherwise I couldn’t justify spending so much time on it. So I evaluated the TV show as if it were a job opportunity.

1. Make sure it’ll be a psychologically positive experience.
In my mind, reality TV is letting someone else tell my story. But right now I make a living from me telling my story. So I need to be really careful letting other people do that. Also, the Farmer said no. Just plain no. He wanted nothing to do with it. He pointed out that he is the only one of the two of us who lets someone else tell his story, and he can tell me from experience that I won’t like it.

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Every once in a while a high-profile woman will divulge the dirty underbelly of trying to be a woman in the work world. I remember the first time I saw it. It was when Brenda Barnes stepped down from a huge career at Pepsi to be with her kids. And she announced that she felt like a bad parent spending so much time away from them. Thereby implying that the other moms with huge jobs like hers were also ignoring their kids.

This week, there is another ground-breaking example of a woman stepping down from a very high place: Anne-Marie Slaughter (pictured above). She is a dean at Princeton and she was director of policy planning in the State Department. She wrote a breathtaking article in the Atlantic titled, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All, about stepping down from her State Department job to take care of her two teenaged boys. She says, in the article, that she is taking much better care of them when she is not away from them. Read more

Most of the time management advice that’s out there sucks. It’s all written by men who write about time management while their wives are at home taking care of their kids, or by men who don’t have anything to do except write about time management. We need time management advice for people who have a real life.

See that photo? It’s me, in New York City, supposedly working during my workday. And my son supposedly eating during lunchtime. And you know what? I got everything done I wanted to get done that day. Here are rules I follow to accomplish that.

1. Experiment in ways that won’t risk the sanity of the people around you.
Steve Pavlina was one of the first bloggers I ever read. And every time I clicked over to his blog I was more appalled by what I saw. Here’s a great example: His sleep experiment where he naps every four hours instead of going to bed like everyone else. He decides this might make him more productive. What blows me away about this experiment is that he has kids. So this means his kids’ needs would have to conform to and bend around his crazy sleep schedule. His sleep plan requires a wife who doesn’t need that high level of productivity that crazy sleep schedules provide. The wife can have the hum-drum sleep schedule that matches the kids, so she’s available to them. Read more

I think I am finally going to have a reality TV show. I have had maybe ten production companies tell me they want to do some kind of TV show with me. And all ten have backed out at various stages of making the show. So I have learned that dealing with TV people is like dealing with rich bankers who can buy any woman they want. I know it will probably be a one-night stand when they realize that I am weirder in person than on my blog.

Do you know how I know that I’m weirder in person than on my blog? Because I ask people. I ask people all the time about how they perceive me and what they expect and if I meet expectations. You might think it sounds insecure, but it doesn’t. Because most people are scared to ask so direct a question. They are scared of the answer. I have found, though, that the more I know about how other people perceive me, the more self-confident I feel about who I am. Because I know who I am.
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One of the things I love most about the advice-to-grads motif is that you learn a lot about the advice giver from the advice. When you force yourself to give short, smart advice, you end up focusing on the stuff that matters most to you.

Sheryl Sandberg, for example, gives amazing graduation speeches, but she always touches on how more women can live the life she is living, and they should aspire to that. That’s what’s important to her. JK Rowling focuses on feeling okay if you fail. It makes sense: she has spoken of how she was on public assistance and suicidal before she was queen of all publishing.

My advice focuses on challenging your preconceived notions. I think this is what I do best, so, of course, I tell people to go out in the world and do this.

Who you take advice from is important. I hate people who are snobs about career advice. You can get great advice from people who are terrible at life. And you can get terrible advice from people with grand successes. The trick is to understand where the person is coming from when they give the advice .

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