5 things I learned from my (home) office mate

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

If you are like most people, the pandemic has skewed your sense of date and time. WebMD posted an article on May 7, 2020, titled, Today is Blursday: How Lockdown Warps Time. The author, Brenda Goodman, MA, hits the nail on the head:

If it feels like all your internal clocks are melting as your stay-at-home days drone on, you are not alone. Researchers say that people in various levels of COVID-19 lockdown around the world are reporting a distorted sense of time.

Some people say they feel as if their days are sped up and flying by, while others sense that time has slowed to a crawl. An event that happened just weeks ago feels like something that happened years ago. Read more

It doesn’t seem to affect my (home) office mate.

I think we could all use a little bit of levity. In full disclosure, Izzy is my 13-year-old Pug. She is deaf and blind, yet loyal and loving. Zoom is our meeting place of choice, and I am one of those people who thoroughly enjoy seeing my clients and colleagues in their home, with a droopy dog’s face on the desk, a naked little boy streaking past an office door (true story), and a Roll Tide banner in the background.

Izzy is unfazed by this change in our work and social lives. She is teaching me a lesson without saying a word. Here are 5 things I learned from my (home) office mate Izzy:

  1. Keep a schedule. Izzy has a plan, ok, it is an eating schedule none-the-less. She is religious about snack time, lunchtime, and dinner/quitting time. We should do the same. If you were at work, you would eat lunch at the same time, take a walk. Please do it. What’s stopping you?
  2. Order, not chaos. Pugs are very peaceful but creatures of habit. Izzy fluffs her blankets in the morning and settles in for a good day’s ‘work.’ Enter your home working space as if you just arrived at your ‘normal’ office. Set yourself up for the day and begin. Don’t overthink it, just be.

Are you getting the message?

  • Take a break. Nature calls, and Izzy soaks up the sun for a few extra minutes. She senses a nearby bunny rabbit but dismisses the thought of expending the energy. Izzy need creates a break for me too. The weather is lovely here in the Capital District, so take that extra moment to get some sunshine. You don’t need Izzy to enjoy the fresh air.
  • Huddle up. Izzy is my only office mate, but years ago, I had two poodles, Nikki and Sukki. They were buds, and after they ‘did their thing’ separately, they huddled up and together found peace and relaxation in that small dog bed. My version? I have a squad. Yup, Rita, Sabrina, and Lauren. We keep each other up and running, virtual hugging when needed, and a lifeline when things get crazy. Find your squad and huddle up. You will be better for it.
  • Take a vacation/staycation. Izzy is retired, so the vacation option does not apply, but I am telling you, time off comes in many shapes and is beneficial. As mentioned before, take a walk. Read a good book on your front porch, deck, or lazy chair and choose a book that will ‘take you away’ for a while. Email me, and I will share some great titles with you.

I hope this post made you smile. The picture you see is Izzy in all her glory. Let’s be a little more like an office mate some days, and the boss will be happier, healthier, and more productive.

Karen Lombardo is the founder of Put Another Way LLC. Karen has been creating websites and relevant content for businesses for over a decade. The company culture is relaxed, our office mate is an old Pug named Izzy, and our philosophy is to listen first, create later.

5 Things You May Not Know About a Food Pantry

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

Food Pantries Amidst the Pandemic | WFUV

I have been honored to write the 5 things blog series for the Women’s Business Council for the past year or so. I have compiled 5 things lists from interesting interview questions to 5 ways to clean your office. Today, I would like to introduce you to our 5 things guest blogger, Natasha Pernicka, Executive Director of The Food Pantries for the Capital District.

The Food Pantries for the Capital District believes we can do more together than any one of us can alone and function as a coalition of more than 65 food pantries in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. The Food Pantries’ vision is to end hunger in the Capital Region. Last year, their member pantries provided more than 65,000 people with enough food for over 3.9 million meals. Yet with more than 89,000 people (including 27,000 children) affected by food insecurity in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties, there is more work to be done.

We thought we would take this opportunity to shed some light and share 5 Things you did not know about a food pantry:

  1. Most pantries in The Food Pantries’ network have fresh produce available. Many also have meat, dairy, and eggs on hand.
  2. There are no income eligibility requirements for visiting a pantry. Many use pantries on a short-term basis in or in a crisis. Pantry use is based on expressed need.
  3. Food pantries and food banks are not the same. A food bank serves as a warehouse where food donations are sorted, stored, and distributed to front-line organizations. Food pantries are front-line organizations that distribute food directly to individuals and families in need. Food pantries order much of the food they need from food banks.
  4. Although food drives are essential, most pantries receive much of the food they distribute from their local food bank. Most food banks use a cost-share model. Much of the food available to pantries is obtained at $.16 per pound cost-share.
  5. Charitable contributions largely support food pantries. There is limited federal and state funding available. Donations from local individuals and companies are vital to funding food pantry programs.

To learn more about the Food Pantries and reach out to donate time or donations, visit the website at https://www.thefoodpantries.org/ .

5 Things? Not this time.

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

Share | Register4Share

Since June 11, 2018, I have had the privilege and honor to blog for the Capital Region Chamber’s Women’s Business Council. I relish the 5 things series and I spend time gathering my thoughts for the blog post over a steaming cup of coffee or a piece of cheese and fruit late in the afternoon.

The events of past few months and the quarantine brought on by the coronavirus have taken a toll on my creative inner soul. I hear from my friends and colleagues; it has had the same effect on them.

I am not listing “5 Things” this month.

I love to write, and I am so fortunate to be active in this community with the Capital Region Chamber, and the Women’s Business Council. These relationships have fed my mind and soul for 2 years. I have written the 5 Things series on:

  • 5 Reasons for Coffee
  • 5 Things You Can Do to Feel Productive
  • 5 Reasons to Have Dogs in the Workplace
  • 5 Great and Creative Interview Questions
  • 5 Things You Should Know About the Membertini

I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the gist of it. Now sitting on the precipice of quarantine and an un-pause, I am at a loss to write just 5 things. As business people and human beings, we all have more than 5 things we can say about any aspect of this pandemic.

Take a moment, for me, and list your own 5 Things.

I will say, writing can heal, so take a pen to paper.

Before we close our laptops and tablets tonight, perhaps take a moment to pen your own 5 Things list. The options are never ending. I would love to hear your 5 Things list, should you feel the urge to share, klombardo@putanotherway.com .

Take care and I absolutely cannot wait to see you all again soon!

PS If you need to chat or have someone to virtually share a cup of Joe, reach out to me. I am always up for that!


5 things you can do to feel productive during this pandemic

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

Stress is everywhere. It is a sad reality for all of us from those who work retail, or Wall Street, it is just difficult right now. After working through 9/11 and the Recession of 2008, I am finding this is an entirely different animal.

How To: Stay Present | EternalLifestyle

So how do we stay present and engaged?

That is the $100,000 question. I speak with small business owners every day. The interaction and face time, albeit over Zoom, keeps my heart and soul alive. People are social beings and we thrive on the hustle and bustle. Streets are quiet, phones are quiet, businesses may be quiet, but here are 5 things we can all do to feel productive.

  1. Keep as much ‘normalcy’ as possible. We all crave consistency. Those ‘sure thing’ moments keep us grounded when life adds a wrench to the works. Keep your schedules and in the absence of a work schedule, make a new home schedule.
  2. Reach out to your coworkers and clients. Whether you are the one still at work, or the person furloughed, engagement is important, and it brings a semblance of normalcy to everyone. Encourage each other as best you can.
  3. How about a project? I know I have completed projects that have lingered for literally years. How many years do I need to save my 2009 tax returns; or how about every Franklin Planner I have used since the year 2000? (No lie). I cleaned out old files, redecorated my home office and invested in candles to set the atmosphere to be relaxing. My Pug Izzy sleeps in her bed next to my desk. Perfection!
  4. Volunteer or donate. We all have a gift, a talent, or a service that we can offer to someone who needs help. Donations do not always need to be in the form of money.
  5. Breathe. Yes, find a way to inhale and exhale. The stress levels are elevated and in New York, we are on pause for another month. It is not easy, and I am not a relaxed kind of gal, but I am trying.

When all else fails….

At Put another Way, we believe in the power of a Zoom meeting with a steaming hot cup of coffee. (OK tea or hot chocolate work too). Reach out, I would be honored to share life in my home office and how we can all get through these upcoming weeks.

Be well.

5 Things: Entrepreneur Boot Camp

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

Image result for Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Share your business intellectual wealth.

One of the most rewarding things a business owner can do is to share the knowledge they have gained with new business owners. The Capital Region Chamber conducts an annual Entrepreneur Boot Camp. The Entrepreneur Boot Camp is an award-winning 60-hour intensive training program that guides would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses through the step-by-step process of starting, operating, and managing a business. The program is held two nights per week over the course of 12 weeks.

Each session features business experts addressing topics critical to the growth of successful enterprises including accounting, legal, market research, real estate, taxes, insurance, payroll, cash flow, marketing, social media and more. I was fortunate to be asked to speak with this group of excited entrepreneurs about marketing, websites, and content. It was a blast!

The experience reminded me of starting my own business and the people who helped me along with the way. Experts in their field and willing to share their business intellectual wealth with a newbie like me.

So, here are 5 things you can do to help our community’s would-be entrepreneurs:

  • Volunteer. Offer up your expertise in a setting like the Entrepreneur Boot Camp. You know so much more than you think you do, and the beginner business owner is very much in need of that knowledge.
  • Be present. If you say, ‘call me,’ then be available when they do reach out. They know you are busy and believe me, they are so flexible and hungry for your help and knowledge.
  • Be mindful. They are starting out, and their finances and experiences are both in their infancy. Look for options for them that are free or at a low cost. For example, email marketing tools, website hosting, and time management tools.
  • Don’t be scary! Sharing horror stories is different than sharing ‘be aware’ stories. Share your fall downs and pick backups. There is value there!
  • Encourage and empathize. You see them driving at 100 mph towards a brick wall, but you can stop them you know? Tell them you have been there and how you managed it. The decision is theirs, of course, but a little story sharing cannot hurt.

The Chamber along with the WBC 2020 Adopted Nonprofit http://www.thefoodpantries.org/ offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities. 

To learn more, about the Entrepreneur Boot Camp e-mail Laura Mann or call 518.431.1430 to learn more.

Busy vs. Productive: 5 things to think about

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner, Put Another Way, LLC

The Capital Region Chamber developed BusinessU to serve as a central source to help businesses with their ongoing professional development needs. BusinessU provides a comprehensive approach to employee development and training that will continually adapt to the needs of our region.

Sharon Phillips, Founder and Chief Relationship Officer (CRO) of Said & Done Solutions LLC led a spectacular class on “Prioritizing- When Everything is a Priority.”

The class touched on points of what ownership of work/life integration and prioritizing responsibilities looks like and why it’s critical. Sharon introduced tools to help us stay focused and on track. All culminating in understanding what is necessary to sustain the path and commitment to success.

Busy vs. Productive- 5 things to think about.

Throughout the course of the class, Sharon talked about busy vs. productive and what each one looks like. Here are 5 take-a-ways from her class:

  1. Are you really too busy or is it not a priority? How often we are asked to do something, and we almost automatically respond with, “I am too busy!”  Take the time to think about what is being asked and respond accordingly. Perhaps, “I would love to do that, but I do not have time in my schedule until after this project is done.”
  2. What does busy look like? This is the million dollar question. Are you trying to do it all? Do you overthink things taking more time than needed to complete the tasks.
  3. What does productive look like? How do you manage your tasks? Do your lists have lists? Results driven productivity can show progress towards completing major goals and moving on to new projects. Check that box!
  4. Are there barriers stopping you from turning busy into productive? Do you need assistance in planning out time for projects? Are you easily knocked off track by interruptions from the office talker, excessive emails, or a jam packed, unrealistic calendar?
  5. Rank what is urgent or important and understand the difference. Time is your friend if used properly. Find a tool that works for you to rank order urgent and important matters and to-do’s. Whether it is an old fashioned paper planner or a high tech automated program, you do you and commit to using whatever it is you have selected.

Our work and our lives intertwine each and every day. This is not a dress rehearsal. Some days, work is the winner and other days, life is the winner. Balancing them is the trick. You do not have to do it alone. Use the resources available to you. Visit Business U on the Capital Region Chamber website to learn more.

5 Reasons to Make a To Do List

Credit: TeroVesalainen from Pixabay 

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

Funny, this is a post that contains a ‘list’ of reasons why you should make a list. The irony is not lost on me. Like so many of us, January brings feelings of renewal and focus. We want to do so many things that our ambitions can get lost in our mundane daily tasks.

Why should you make a list?

  1. Keeps us on task. When you start your day and boot up your laptop or tablet, do you know what you need to do today? Reaction is different from action. Schedule important tasks and recurring tasks in your calendar. Build that ladder of activity in your day and leave some down time for unexpected events.
  2. Prioritize. Ok so you have you list and schedule in front of you. Have you prioritized your tasks? If billing is not due to your accounting department until the last week of the month, why do it now? Timing is everything.
  3. One thing leads to another. It is like pulling a string. You sit down to write a proposal and you realize you need pricing from a supplier….add that to do item now. You are creating a thank you campaign for your clients and need to purchase coffee shop gift cards…add this action in advance so you can finish that project in one swoop. Check!
  4. Allows the opportunity to punt. No time right now? No problem. Move that to do item to another day, week, or month. You are the boss of your time.
  5. Feeling of accomplishment when completed. At the end of the day when you look at your list and see all that completed activity, you will feel spectacular. The sense of accomplishment is rewarding, embrace it.

Good day or bad day?

Please don’t be discouraged if your list is still fairly large at the end of the day. Some projects take longer and that is ok. Some days you will finish the entire list and you can head out to the gym and take a spin class. Either way, you are better off and so if your business if you make a list.

Add this to your list.

Spend some time with your fellow list builders and come to the WBC luncheon, Your Voice, Your Values, Your Vocation…Doing you authentically; while explaining you succinctly. This marvelous event will be held on January 28th at Albany Marriott Hotel. Click here to register or for more information, email Marna Redding at mredding@capitalregionchamber.com .

Look around your office and change 5 things.

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner, Put Another Way, LLC

Holiday time, especially the new year, presents us all with a chance to change, renew, and start over. Not necessarily because we made mistakes or failed, but because we want to be better, do better, and implement with a fresh start on January 1st.

Here are 5 things you can think about and perhaps change in your office. I’ll use myself as an example and hope this speaks to you to look around your office and conceivably make a change.

Remove the treat jar.

I have always had candy in my office. I convinced myself I maintained this magnificent stash for ‘visitors’ yet on too many late-night projects, the candy became my dinner. This year I am swapping out the candy for some healthier options such as nuts, low-fat granola bars, and fruit. Hey, I am no saint…I still keep peanut M&M’s in the bottom drawer!

Add a plant or a fish or two.

Plants can create a feeling of wellness and health. They are beautiful to look at and can really relax a seemingly stuffy office. Just remember to water them!

Fish require a little more care. I had four fish, Shakespeare, Hamlet, Horatio and Yorick. Alas, only Shakespeare survived slightly cloudy water and an odd feeding schedule. I recently lost poor Shakespeare…  and was truly saddened.

Change the location or direction of your desk.

This is a game-changer. I promise it makes a difference. If space does not allow, change up the location of your desk lamp or printer. Mix it up a bit.

Open for a chat!

If you are in an office, do you always work with the door closed and lights low? If you have direct reports, do they shy from coming in to actually see you and chat? Open up that door and raise the blinds! You will be surprised by what you learn about people when you actually sit face to face to face with them.

Clean up. No really, clean it.

Spring cleaning is great, but the end of year cleaning is healing.

  • Saving old daily planners from 2010? Get rid of them.
  • Old shoes under the desk covered in dust? Donate them.
  • Awards or plaques sitting in a pile? Hang them.
  • Thank you for notes that need to be sent? Write to them.

Make a change and Happy Holidays from Put Another Way and the Women’s Business Council.

E-mail Marna Redding or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!

5 Reasons to Attend the Holiday Fundraiser

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner, Put Another Way LLC.

The Women’s Business Council (WBC) promotes the full participation and leadership of women at all levels in the workplace, the community and government. The council develops programs that provide opportunities for women to learn and network as well as share their expertise with each other and to address the unique issues of women in business.

On December 10th, the Women’s Business Council invites you to join us and help support our 2019 Adopted Nonprofit, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, at our annual holiday fundraiser. The luncheon will take place from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Century House, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member- 997 New Loudon Road in Latham.

Here are 5 reasons why you should attend this fantastic luncheon.

Last chance to support the Epilepsy Foundation as the WBC adopted nonprofit.

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. Epilepsy can affect anyone with a brain, and anyone with a brain can affect epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation exists to #EndEpilepsy. C’mon out and support the Epilepsy Foundation for our last event in 2019!

It’s a great start to your holiday shopping.

Support our local businesses by helping the Epilepsy Foundation. Begin your holiday shopping! Silent auction items are abundant along with raffles, a gift card tree, and even a wine pull. Guaranteed to check at least one person from your shopping list.

Get the inside scoop on the announcement of the 2020 adopted nonprofit!

Be the first to be in the know and learn about our 2020 adopted nonprofit.

Networking is at its best.

Enjoy a wonderful environment, great food, and networking with friends old and new. This is a wonderful time to enjoy some holiday cheer and learn about new businesses from your peers in the capital region. Sit with someone you don’t know, and you will be a surprise.

Enjoy a wonderful lunch with friends and colleagues.
Special thanks to our friends at Century House, 997 New Loudon Road, Latham for their continued support. The food is certain to please so come and spend an hour or two with us!

All proceeds will benefit the WBC’s 2019 Adopted Nonprofit.

To learn more about the WBC, contact Marna Redding at mredding@capitalregionchamber.com

5 Things You Can Do To Build Your Network.

Post by Karen Lombardo, Owner of Put Another Way, LLC.

Image result for building network

Building a strong business network is critical to long term success. When I say ‘success,’ I mean both personal and professional success. Interacting in your community both socially and professionally builds an awareness of the issues that exist right here at home. Often times, you can combine your professional activities by volunteering or networking at a community event.

Here are 5 things you can do to build your network and expand your horizons within your community.

Get out there!

Think a little outside the box. Sign up for a community walk. Volunteer with our 2019 Adopted Nonprofit, Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. There are so many ways you can help them and in the process, help yourself and the community too.

Ambassadors Committee

I absolutely love being a Chamber Ambassador! Ambassadors provide a valuable member-to-member link, understanding and responding to member needs. This committee actively assists members to be better informed about our Chamber’s work as well as opportunities to participate in Chamber programs

Tech Valley Young Professionals Network (YPN)

A workforce development initiative, YPN helps connect, develop, and empower young professionals. It offers professional development, networking, and civic engagement opportunities to ensure a strong talent pipeline in Tech Valley. The council serves as a catalyst to connect, develop, and empower young professionals.

There is still time! Be a mentor. The Executive Mentorship Program, presented by our Young Professionals Network (YPN), connects ambitious young professionals with high-level business leaders to support each other’s professional and personal development. 

Women’s Business Council (WBC)

With so many committees, programs and events, there is sure to be something that strikes a chord. The Women’s Business Council promotes the full participation and leadership of women at all levels in the workplace, the community and government. The WBC develops programs that provide opportunities for women to learn and network as well as share their expertise with each other and to address the unique issues of women in business.

Reach out to someone new

Networking can be scary and intimidating but it does not have to be. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Entering a new event in a large room? Look for someone standing alone and say, “Hi! My name is ….” Ice is now broken; the door is open, and you are off and running.

Find something here that intrigues you? Great! Reach out to us at the Women’s Business Council (WBC) and contact Marna via E-mail Marna Redding or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!

PS and if you see me at an event, c’mon over and say hello!