DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a lot of things going on in my personal life trying to balance my business, my stepsons, work and school. I work every other weekend, getting up early to do stepmom duties and then having to open a shop. I keep my stepsons with me most of the time and have to home-school them. I try to keep them active and learning by having them help me with chores.
I just opened this new beauty shop, so a lot of my time goes into promotion and trying to get new customers in the store. Sometimes I feel like it can be difficult, but I look at others and say if they can do it with more than what I'm juggling, then I know I can. What are some tips you can give to keep focused when having a lot on my plate? -- Full Plate
DEAR FULL PLATE: Busy people are often the ones who can manage multiple responsibilities. Get organized so that you can stay focused.
Make a list every evening of all of the tasks you must accomplish the next day. Write them out in categories that include all aspects of your life -- stepsons, home, the shop, your health and whatever else is important. Under each category, list bite-sized tasks that need to be completed with deadlines when applicable. Then, on the next day, execute your list. This should keep you streamlined and aware of what you have to do and whether you did it or not. Remember to include your health. This is key to being able to complete all of the other tasks.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an assistant for the CEO of a large corporation. I've been his assistant for about four months now. From my first day, he would call me honey, dear, sweetheart, things like that. At first, I thought it was because he couldn't remember my name. Then I noticed that he began to compliment me every morning, admiring my hair, smile and eyes in our video conferences. Now it has turned into him asking me very personal questions, like whether I am single or have kids. He jokes that we have to get together eventually outside business for drinks so that he can really get to know me.
I was hired virtually, and he said he's been through a few assistants in the past few years. I am starting to wonder if he's had any complaints of sexual harassment brought against him. He hasn't done anything too inappropriate, but I can see him headed down that road. What do you suggest I do if I fear being sexually harassed? -- Precarious Assistant
DEAR PRECARIOUS ASSISTANT: You are right to be concerned. I consulted an attorney about such incidents and was informed that when behavior makes you feel uncomfortable and feels like it is headed toward being inappropriate, you should have your antennae up. Further, she recommended that you speak to an attorney about it first, before going to the human resources department.
Typically, the HR department of a company protects the company. You should have independent counsel listen to your concerns and make a legal recommendation of how to proceed. Meanwhile, do not agree to drinks or any other type of personal engagement with your boss.