WHO SHE IS: Fran Hauser, President, Digital Time Inc. Style & Entertainment Group

SUCCESS STORY: Building PEOPLE.com into one of the most popular women’s websites

WORK SCHEDULE: Full time Monday – Friday

KIDS: Anthony 3 1/2 & William 2

SANITY VICE: Dark chocolate!

BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Choose my outfit and kids’ outfits the night before

GO-TO TECH: Evernote (I use it to manage projects and checklists for personal and work)

WORK-LIFE BALANCE? 7

Fran Hauser on getting the “food out first,” finding the strength to delegate, and letting go of the dust bunnies

1. You oversee the digital properties for huge magazines — People.com & InStyle.com & more, which combined reach tens of millions of online users. What’s the best part of what you do?

Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 9.31.22 PMPart of the reason why I love working on these brands is that I am also their core consumer and can identify pain points and recognize opportunities for growth. My position gives me access to innovation in the digital space where I can visualize how megabrands like PEOPLE and InStyle can partner early with emerging startups and social platforms in exciting new ways. This could mean a company like Flipboard as a smart distribution platform for our content, or it could be coming in at the ground level with new digital solutions. When Sukhinder Singh Cassidy launched her video e-commerce platform, Joyus, we recognized an opportunity immediately to get PEOPLE StyleWatch involved where we know the consumer would find value in show-and-tell video e-commerce. Now, Joyus successfully powers much of PEOPLE.com’s e-commerce business and we work with them on branded content programs with our editorial staff.

2. How would you describe your personal juggle between work and family?

A friend of mine told me that once you become a parent you’ll always feel guilty. Guilty that you are not spending enough time with the kids, guilty that you are not doing enough at work, guilty that you are not giving enough at home. It becomes a constant juggling act, and you have to teach yourself strategies for making it all work.  Being a mother, my weekends are all about the kids, and they are filled with lots of quality time together. During the week, I try to be strategic about getting home to spend time with them. For example, I do what I can to get home by 6:30 PM so that I have a full hour with them and can be there for their bedtime routine. It’s not fair to my children to show up fifteen minutes before bedtime and then get them all worked up and excited, and I love being able to unwind and go through the bedtime routine with them.

I also try and be realistic with myself. Many days, it’s impossible to get to everything I need to see at work before 6:30 PM. I’ve set up a comfortable place in my home where I can log on after the kids are in bed and finish things up if needed. Sometimes work that can seem stressful and consuming can be quickly finished up when you are in a more relaxed frame of mind.

3. I’ve been thinking a lot about working smart as a means to achieve personal flexibility. Any tips there?

At work, I try to create policies for myself to help determine where I need to be. I’ve set criteria for which meetings to take and which projects to participate in. This helps me decide when I should delegate the opportunity to someone else on my team or suggest a different path. This was a hard strategy to implement, since it often meant removing myself from meetings and discussions that I wanted to be a part of, but it has been crucial in productivity. I am able to look at situations objectively, and as a result, end up spending more time where I should and want to be. I apply this professionally and also with my non-profit work.

4. Is there anything you see your employees doing from a “work smart” perspective that the rest of us should try?

Recently an employee likened her system for productivity to when she was waitressing. She explained that when you are a waitress and in the weeds, you have to get really smart about creating an order of operations. You have to get the food out while its hot, and maybe that means a table has to wait a few extra minutes for their check. It’s completely unrealistic in our profession to start and finish a specific project without being pulled into something else along the way. Instead, you have to teach yourself to recognize that there is a difference between urgent and important—almost everything is important. And you should get the food out first!

5. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?

I am very fortunate that I can afford exceptional childcare for my children. There are many moms in this country that actually can’t afford to go back to work. I think building an affordable childcare program is one of the most crucial things that we could do for the economy.

It is more important than ever to keep women in the workforce. We know, for example, that women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieve significantly higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bring in higher revenue percentages than male-owned tech companies. When we attach stigmas to working mothers and do little to help with the obstacles in getting back to work, we do a disservice to ourselves.

5+. What advice do you live by as a working mom?

At Arianna Huffington’s recent Third Metric Conference, Sen. Claire McCaskill shared about a time in her life when her career was extremely demanding, her children were young, and she found herself newly single. She was talking about juggling it all and trying to appear invincible when she realized that she, “didn’t give a sh*t if there were dust bunnies under the bed.” I thought it was brilliant, and I go back to this metaphor all of the time. You can’t sweat the small stuff, and as corny as it sounds, I really try and be present as a Mom for my kids. Sometimes it is as simple as looking them in the eyes when I talk to them and assuring them that I am listening and I care about what they are saying. Being a distracted mom is often worse than not showing up at all.

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