CAREER: Own Back Your Day and Time


I am not sure if you working moms out there have as insane of work days as I have been having of late. But for the past 6 weeks, it seems that from the minute I walk into my office from when I can scramble to get out, I was getting booked for meetings on end, right up against each other. Some were double and triple bookings, and even through the lunch hour (I mean, who needs to eat at my age!? It ends up on the hips anyway, right?)

There is no question, that with this recession, we are doing a lot more with a lot less-and that means resources at work. Things in my industry are thawing a little, and our company continues to grow, but as the staff grows so do their needs for me. But what good is a leader who can't think straight? What good is feedback on a project when I only had 5 minutes to think about it or look at? As I was frazzled out of my mind last week, I realized that I was allowing my coworkers to dictate my work day. It wasn't their fault-they need me. It's my role. And I was doing all I could to be there, giving feedback and carving time for every meeting. Then all of a sudden, I am driving home late realizing I didn't even get to my own work, I mean my real work! I think corporate America is killing itself with meetings! Not just at my little place, but even at the other larger companies I have been at. But I digress.

So yes, I realized that I was allowing everyone to book "the poop" out of me. Well guess what I did? I booked my own reoccurring one hour meeting for myself in the late afternoon Have things gotten better? Yes, a little. The truth is I need more than one hour to get work done. I am still stressed and crazed, but I know I have an hour clear for myself to concept, brainstorm with my team, read manuscripts, sign off on materials, and just plain think. At the end of the day-if Mamma's not thinking, no one at the agency or the client side is happy. Know what I mean?

It does make things a little more difficult for others to schedule around, but they manage. In reality, some of those important meetings don't need to happen that instant. It is a good exercise in prioritization for everyone. I urge you to stop the madness a little, even if it's 30 minutes for yourself to clean your desk, be sure to get it on your calendar. Some people use lunch as sacred time. I had an ACD that put a line in the sand and went out for one hour everyday at lunch. He would decline any meeting during that time (unless it was a client). I envied his dedication to that. I think it helped his mental health and creativity. SO whether its blocking out your lunch for you or getting "me time" on your calendar, start drawing some boundaries. You will start bringing a little bit of sanity and efficiency back in your work day.

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