Are you pushing hard to meet deadlines and get everything done? As we strive for perfection (am I the only one?) we, must be careful that we do not push too hard. We must build margin into our days.
I was blessed recently to spend around five days in the Pocono Mountains. I love the mountains! They are my happy place. I love the crisp, fall air, the changing leaves, and the sound of a stream trickling in the distance. Hiking and photography are two of my passions. I was fortunate to enjoy both.
This time away was vital to my mental health. The absence of travel has been challenging! COVID had put a halt to all my outside conferences and retreats. The arrangements for the September journey to the Poconos had been made in late-Spring. The plans were left in place, JUST IN CASE.
Luckily, the gamble paid off. The Airbnb stayed available and there were no state-to-state travel bans. The little bit of R&R was so important. Burnout was real. I can always tell when burnout is imminent. Lisa gets cranky. Problems seem 10 times worse. I eat poorly, sleep poorly.
Today, let’s talk about solutions to today’s COVID’s workplace environment!
Here are three thoughts to provoke you, two ideas to inspire you, and one item to act on!
Three Thoughts to Provoke
Number One. Stress Eating
I was doing research for this post when I came across Valerie’s post on Instagram.
“I ate McDonald’s, pizza, and peanut M&Ms all last week. It was a 7-day carb-fest…and my energy level tanked.” @valeriemhayes
I asked Valerie if I could share her story. We have all been there. Here is the backstory.
“I was really stressed last week because I was creating a new lead magnet and re-designing my home page. I was putting too much pressure on myself to make it perfect, but get it done quickly. So, I didn’t do any meal prep or cooking, waited until I was starving, then ordered something for delivery.”
Sound familiar? I have so many food intolerances that even the slight imbalance in my meals can throw me off.
Valerie’s story has a happy ending.
“I’ve decided that next time I’m going to have healthy meals and snacks in the fridge before I start writing.” She went on to write in her original post, “So, I am back on track today with my meal plan and workout.”
Way to go, Valerie. Thank you for inspiring me to resist that stress eating.
Number Two. Skip Out
With the pandemic rules and regulations, I find myself kicking against the pricks. To top it off, my car has been out of service for weeks, limiting my mobility even more. The part I need to fix the vehicle is limited and extremely expensive. I am feeling office and housebound. I strive to have at least one day a week that I put aside for running errands and getting out of the office/house.
Another option is having coffee with a friend…virtually. I have a regularly scheduled bi-weekly morning coffee with a friend who lives outside of London. We spend half an hour gabbing about friends, work, future plans, and enjoying another person’s laughter.
Number Three. Structure Time
Last week I attended a virtual workshop led by Rosa Sabater, President of Martellus, LLC. The name of the seminar was “Working Well.” We talked about Meta “Dos” and Meta “Bes.”
Meta Dos are things I am called to accomplish. Meta Bes are things I aspire to be.
In this workshop, Rosa talked about staying out of the swirl. Have a flow to the day and then reflect on your day; was it a day well lived?
I encourage you to implement structure to your day. Do you have daily rituals? I have my daily routines, and I have daily habits for each of my clients. In my project management tool, I have a recurring weekly list of things I need to do every single day for them. It helps me to check these off the list and then focus on more significant priorities and tasks.
Two Things to Inspire
Number One. Schedule full, but not busy
Be careful that you are not a busy bee. We all have 168 hours in our week. Be mindful of your time. Rosa Sabater says,
For me, the swirl is overwhelming. Conflicting appointments, back to back meetings, no margin. You need to be able to shift if needed.
Number Two. Shift, if needed
Do you build margin into your schedule? Here is an excerpt from Dr. Richard Swenson’s book “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.”
“Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”
Your Action Item
Work can make us sick. We talk about work-life rhythm or balance, but we need to think about priorities and building margin into our day.
Building margin into our day can be the difference between eating a healthy dinner or another night of a less healthy fast food option.
Do you need to build more margin into your day? When I schedule appointments for clients, I try to always give them 15-30 minutes in between meetings. That allows them to get up and away from their desk for a few minutes.
Schedule some time on Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning to look at your calendar. Ask your assistant to put some space between your appointments. Limit calls to three or four per day. Maybe just one out of the office meeting per day or schedule all of your out of office meetings on Tuesday. Find ways to minimize the overwhelm and maximize the margin.
Olinda Services provides Executive Business Partner support for small businesses and non-profit executives. We are currently looking to partner with another great client.
If you are looking to grow your business or non-profit, nurture business contacts, or your systems need refining, contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide some details of what you need. We can then schedule a time to discuss your needs with me, Lisa Olinda, Chief Chaos Whisperer of Olinda Services.
This group is for YOU. Ask questions, get answers to your pain points. I am a teacher at heart. I would love to hear from YOU!
What chaos needs to be busted in your business?