Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jumping into the Deep End of Each Day

Day 1 back at work after almost 10 days off on holiday was fascinating. It took me an hour or so to get back into the rhythm of the intensity, but after that hour, I hit the floor running!

Monday was a quiet day spent in my office wading through approx. 2,600 emails, phone messages and scheduling changes (which continued to come through until 7:00 pm) Ahh a sense of accomplishment when the last email that had to be answered was dispatched and I could begin the next day with a clean slate. I’ve made a habit of booking off the first day after I’m back from any trip to wade through correspondence as there’s no point in struggling to play catch up all week long which would negate all the benefits of my time off.

Yesterday was hitting the floor running; back to back meetings, seeing clients, booking in my schedule for the fall and juggling Shadowing with creative time and teaching. I’m often asked how I can keep all the balls in the air and it’s easier than you’d think. It’s a matter of creating that balance within your work life as well as personal life. Knowing how much energy you typically have, mental and physical and working around that, creates an effective work balance.

Time management isn’t only about how many minutes you have in the day and how you compartmentalize them. It’s about knowing flow of energy, attention span, when to say no and when to jump in with both feet. It’s knowing your industry, profession, demands of the workplace and how to fit priorities around that.

My usual question to clients is “What few things can you do that will give you the most results the quickest?” Sometimes your second or third priorities will give you the biggest ‘bang for your buck’….and a ripple effect that will allow 10 other things to fall into place. It’s also knowing who should be doing what.

I often hear how my clients are short staffed and they don’t have enough people to get the work done. In many cases that is a fact. In others there are too many people tasked with one deliverable and what happens is, they are so strapped for finding time to meet, communicate, and forced to collaborate on so many levels that too many people slow down the process. Tasking to fewer staff, but having communication between staff increase about 25% actually increases the effectiveness of any organization.

So as I ran from meeting to meeting and heard “You have a tan! You look rested and energized! You actually DID take a holiday?” : ) to Oh no! She’s going to be even more pumped. Trouble!” I decided from now on to take shorter breaks but more frequent ones for mini-energy-boosters, though not long enough to put a monkey wrench into the flow and ebb of client demands and creative work with my R and D team (get ready guys ‘cause come September I’m going to hit the floor running there too!).

In the meantime I leave you with this…
Days like this, especially for us Canadians, days of warmth and sunshine and delicious heat are precious and leave all too soon. Remember to jump into the deep end of each day. Experience all the days have to offer and enjoy every moment of them.

Donna Karlin

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