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Manage Your Household Like a Boss

This post originally appeared on LearnVest, where smart people learn to manage their money and live their richest lives.

What does a company’s CEO know that you don’t?

Usually, top executives have an arsenal of tips and tricks for managing their employees most effectively. And, if a household is like a business, you, as Mom, are the top executive of your household, or MCEO, if you will.

We spoke to some women who pull double-duty as both Mom and CEO to find out the most useful, effective tips they’ve brought home from the office.

From managing babysitters to finishing to-do lists, their insight can help your household (not to mention your office) run at peak efficiency, saving both time and money.

1. Be Solutions-Oriented

Instead of just refusing your kids’ request or disapproving of their behavior, be clear about what they should be doing. “Don’t just say no, or accept no,” says Deborah Michael, founder of North Shore Pediatric Therapy. She points out that blaming and screaming won’t get an executive, or a mom, very far. (Work-wise, employees respond better to “Do this instead” than to “That’s terrible. You shouldn’t have done that.”) We went more in-depth about her preferred method of managing underlings, which involves the ABCs of behavioral training.

2. Always Have a Backup

Always have a Plan —or Person—B.  Margelit Hoffman of Hoffman Productions keeps her ear to the ground, always looking for new talent. In the workplace, it means keeping an eye out for promising new hires, and at home it means staying on alert for great babysitters, lest her go-to sitter fall through. “Always be looking. I’m learning the hard way to use this idea when it comes to babysitters. There always comes a time when you need backup.”

3. Limit Your To-Do List

Chandra Clarke, co-founder of, recommends keeping ‘to-do’ lists short. “If you set yourself (or someone else) a task list that has ten items, and eight items get crossed off, that is actually an 80% success rate, but it still somehow feels like a failure,” she says. “We keep it to a ‘top three,’ which is updated daily. If you get your top three done, then you feel great, and anything else you get done feels like a bonus. Restricting it to three items really forces you to prioritize.”

4. Go High-Tech

In her office, Fashion Forward Maternity CEO Erin Lewis uses Google Calendar to sort out competing schedules, travel and appointments. Now she’s instituted it at home as well. “My husband and I both travel for work, and I’m currently finishing my MBA,” she says. “We have two children, two part-time nannies and a daycare schedule to follow, so we give everyone access to Google Calendar. That way we can plan ahead and  look back and make sure we’re planning enough fun family time.”

5. Be a Winning Team

Nellie Akalp, the CEO and co-founder of, finds that operating as a team provides the most success, especially in her family of six. “At the office we work as a team. Then, when things go right, we all get to share in the company’s success. It’s the same at home–every member of the family fulfills his or her responsibilities (like setting the dinner table, cleaning the house, making beds, taking out trash, cleaning up after the dog), and we all get to share a comfortable home.” To encourage the teamwork mentality, she rewards good behavior by allowing the family to choose a fun activity they would like to do as a group instead of rewarding individual members.

To see four more tips, check out the original post on LearnVest

More from LearnVest:

Believe it or not, your child’s discipline can affect your finances. Here’s how.

Watch out for these ten signs that your child is too busy.
This mom ditched $89,000 of debt in only six months. Learn how she did it.
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