All posts by Maria Boicova-Wynants

Family Life CEO: Mother of two, mediator, personal buddy: wise friend for rent (check out my website for more info), gardener, golfer & creative chef. One day will have my own coffee bar & vineyards

Clutter can never be organized, or What a concept of Lean has to do with household

In this article I will of course show-off that I still remember some operations management stuff from my MBA. Yet, I promise I’ll share quite some value as well, because a lot of those complicated terms boil down to a very practical and down-to-earth principles, applicable equally good to a factory and to a simple household.

Operations management in its essence is about dealing with complexity. So… let’s simplify our everyday life, shall we?

Continue reading Clutter can never be organized, or What a concept of Lean has to do with household

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The greener grass or the right filter?

One of these days I came across yet another gripping post by Seth Godin and stumbled upon a phrase therein which made me pause and reflect.

Spend enough time looking through the glass on your tablet and you’ll come to believe that you’re the only one with a less-than-perfect situation. With the right filter, the grass really is greener.

…With the right filter, the grass really is greener… Continue reading The greener grass or the right filter?

Is it always good to be nice?

“Be nice!” – that’s something a kid hears a lot. Since early on we are expected to be nice to others, meaning at least: be friendly, share and help the ones in need. “She is a nice person!” – that is supposed to be a compliment. “That’s so nice of you!” – is meant as a sincere “thank you”. However, what is “nice”? Moreover, is it always good to be nice? Let’s discuss.

I actually got to thinking about this subject after I came across an article mentioning ruinous empathy. Ruinous empathy? – I thought – how can that be? For me, empathy is an essential and positive skill. How can it be ruinous? What does it mean? So I did a quick Google search and discovered that such thing indeed exists, yet in fact has little to do with actual empathy. We talk about it in a situations when a person is not saying what needs to be said, because he or she is desperately trying to be nice in order to protect someone else’s feelings. Let me give you a very simple (even simplistic) example to demonstrate ruinous empathy:

Continue reading Is it always good to be nice?

Pre-defined horizons

A couple of days ago I was using my husband’s iPad to show cartoons to our kids on YouTube. Now when he goes on YouTube he is bombarded with new episodes of “Fixies” and “Octonauts”. Yesterday I accidentally clicked on an ad for some sort of a desk decor and today this desk decor is “attacking” me from every ad space there is. Targeting in action. I got it. Seems to be based on my interests, right? But is it? Doesn’t it look like someone makes an assumption about my interests and defines a “frame” for me to fit in? Can I still choose “yellow”, if someone tries to direct (read: limit) my choice to “red or blue”?

Continue reading Pre-defined horizons

Reflections on a cultural code

Last week I made an unexpected observation on cultural differences. As you know the 8th of March was International Women’s Day and as you might know in Eastern Europe and especially post-Soviet countries this day is celebrated with gifts and flowers. A friend of mine, mother of two sons, on that day had to buy flowers for all the girls of their class. This made me wonder how do you go about traditions which in your perception seem senseless, but if you don’t follow them, you risk becoming an outcast? You see that friend of mine also didn’t get the point of the “exercise”, yet if she wouldn’t have bought those flowers, that would make her sons look bad.

Social pressure. Should you succumb to it if it is about traditions?

But what if the tradition is essentially wrong, ‘cos, hey, flowers are not the point of this day? These are thought-provoking questions as such. However, when I went on to investigate “public opinion” on this matter I was struck with the cultural differences it highlighted. Continue reading Reflections on a cultural code