“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Or is it? Holiday cheer is no doubt contagious and everyone at work has an extra groove, but the holidays also usher in a bit of anxiety around the office work schedule. Who’s on vacation? What work has to get done before year’s end? What about budgets for 2018? How will you manage family time and providing extra care to clients?
For those like me, who are self-proclaimed “planners,” the holidays can also be a great time to reflect and prioritize projects. While you may not be able to avoid working late the nights leading up to the holiday break, there are a few things you can do to achieve work-life balance and combat stress during the holidays. Below are a few of my own suggestions:
Put in extra hours before the holiday to build a buffer & complete projects As I said, I am a planner and one tool I implement during the holiday season is scheduling ahead to add one extra hour of work to my day, each day leading up to the end of the year. If you are like me, this will allow you to get more work done and hopefully put you ahead of projects.
Determine “must-do” items versus “would like to do” items on your list Part of living a balanced professional and personal life is planning and setting clear expectations with team members. I generally have two lists of priorities. The first list is my general “to-dos” and the second list is my priority “to-dos” that I re-write each day. Making these lists of what has to get done, versus what can wait until the new year, helps keep me on track when last-minute projects arise. Prioritizing and thinking ahead helps me ensure I am creating the right deliverables. While it is almost certain you will have last-minute fires to put out, staying organized helps to keep these fires more manageable.
Give yourself time to mediate and reflect Between holiday parties, gift shopping and prepping for family to arrive from out of town, it is easy to get caught up in this crazy time of year. That said, it also a great time to hit pause once a day and take time for yourself to reflect and recharge. Recently, I have been practicing meditation and using an app on my phone called Calmto guide me through my practice. The app offers tools to become more present and often provides perspective on the many things we can appreciate about each day.
While all of the above contribute to reducing stress around the holiday season, the most important thing to me is to stay present and enjoy this magical time of year.
Travel: that evasive concept we so eagerly pursue and yet sporadically get to experience, unless you have a job like mine as a video producer. I recently embarked on an eight-day video shoot that took me to seven different states over the course of 18 flights. Because of the intense and rigorous nature of our trip, our crew took some calculated measures to anticipate any difficulties that we might encounter along the way. It should be noted that although this post focuses on video/photo production, a lot of these tips can be helpful for any business or personal travel. Read more after the jump…
You won’t be surprised to learn that at GFM and CenterTable our team members share a lot of similarities. This goes so far as to include how we work (collaboration, big ideas and strategic thinking are tops), how we play (outdoors, in the gym and definitely with friends and family) and even how we eat.
Food in The Office
As a group of hardworking professionals, you’re as likely to find a frozen lunch in our office freezer as you are to find a homemade organic salad in the fridge – it all depends on who’s got what going on that week. In the last few years, however, the consumption of soda has gone down while the intake of soda water has gone up. There are more bags of apples and raw nuts around the office than bags of chocolate or chips. As we’ve matured as a team and continued to work with natural food companies, our approach to food has matured as well, and I’d wager the intake of healthier food during the workday is on the rise.
Food at Home
At GFM and CenterTable our jobs – just like those of our working colleagues in so many other industries – demand flexibility, which means our meals outside the office sometimes have to be flexible, too. Whether we’re rushing to get kids from school after work, squeezing in a workout before heading home, or driving to the mountains in the evening to avoid traffic – our team is often left with little time to get something healthy on the table. That said, on any given day you’ll hear dreamy descriptions of the dinner someone left simmering in their crock pot or the veggies fresh from the garden ready to go on their grill after work. Read more after the jump…
Back in March, I wrote about my attempts to become better at managing my energy (vs. focusing simply on managing my time). My results have been mixed, at best, largely because I find that it’s hard to a) break old habits and b) make new habits stick. Our agency recently participated in an Organization and Efficiency Workshop, facilitated by GG Johnston, and she turned us on to an interesting quiz by Gretchen Rubin that looks at how individuals respond to expectations. Called The Four Tendencies, the theory is that how you respond to expectations directly impacts how you form new habits – thus the connection to my energy management project.
GroundFloor Media (GFM) is truly incredible when it comes to encouraging employees to find a work/life blend. They absolutely walk the talk of allowing team members to work whenever and wherever – as long as they get their work done. That being said, as a working mom, I still find that “the juggle” is very real and, at times, overwhelming. I start strong at the beginning of every week, but am typically exhausted and dragging myself across the finish line by Friday. So, I recently embarked on a personal journey to try to find a way to remedy that – so that I can be better at both of my jobs (PR and mom).
I love great ideas! Especially the ones that start out small but then revolutionize an industry. In 2007, a like-minded group of individuals, including Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, wanted to find a way in which everyone could help improve their own community. Their solution: They taught their local residents to take control of their community through gardening and eating.
“The answer was food,” said Warhurst in her TED Talk. “Everyone understands food. Food gets people talking; even better, it inspires people to take action.” They started with small herb gardens and community plots in a Northern England town called Todmorden. Then they planted corn in front of a police station, fruit trees on the sides of roads, vegetables in front of the senior center, and even planted gardens in the cemetery, where “things grow really well because the soil is really good!” Read more after the jump…
My September began pretty typically, with a host of meetings with companies preparing their 2017 budgets. This year, one of them stood out.
I had just reconnected with an old friend from high school, and he and I sat down to talk about the important work he was doing with a Colorado-based nonprofit. He was anxious to find out if our team at GroundFloor Media and CenterTable might be able to amplify his team’s efforts.
The meeting went well, and we were in the process of scheduling a follow-up to get leaders from both our teams in the same room. Then the emails and phone calls stopped. Earlier this week, I found out that my friend had tragically lost his life.
I didn’t know this young man nearly as well as others. And as my social newsfeeds overflowed with messages mourning his passing, I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to eulogize him as beautifully or as fittingly. I wondered if I should say anything at all.
Practicing yoga at Villa Gumonca on the island of Brac.
I’ve just had the opportunity to take advantage of GFM’s generous sabbatical policy… After 10 years, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”
I did so by participating in a yoga retreat in Croatia with six Brits and a Norwegian I’d never met before, taking a two-week vacation in Croatia and Italy with my boyfriend, and then spending a week re-acclimating and getting organized at home in Denver. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and as I sat at lunch savoring my last few days off, I jotted down some of the lessons I learned that may prove helpful should you ever find yourself in the position of enjoying a month off.
1. Modifying isn’t cheating
As a former gymnast (AKA perfectionist) I feel the need to be able to bend forward and touch the ground with hands flat and legs straight when I’m practicing yoga. Thanks to a hamstring issue, I’m not currently able to, which has been driving me crazy. On this yoga retreat, our instructor encouraged me to bend my knees deeply in forward bend. Doing so not only enabled me to put my hands flat on the ground without pain, it also produced an amazing stretch that felt great. My preconceived notions of what “success” looked like in that pose and the expectations known only to me (no one else was watching to make sure I kept my legs straight) had been holding me back from true success.
Futurism, leadocracy and nanosecond culture were just a few of the big terms and even bigger ideas discussed during the TEDxMileHigh Values & Instincts event at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on this past Saturday. The annual event welcomed approximately 2,000 curious minds from across the Denver metro area. From more traditional leaders like Roxane White, who serves as chief of staff to Governor John Hickenlooper, to promising stars such as Easton Lachappelle who is tackling the challenges of prosthetics and wireless robotics at the ripe old age of 17, the day did not disappoint.
I participated in the first half of the event and came away inspired, but also a bit numb. In the moment, it all seems possible that “love” is the only “currency” we need to solve our problems both big and small. And sometimes I do experience the realities of “scarcity” in our community that cannot only be solved with “reciprocity” alone. (Yes, this is oversimplifying of few of host Tim O’Neill’s quick references.) So in reality, what are actionable next steps for a committed citizen?
Rosie in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Rosie is from Collburn, Colo. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
I’m one of those people. I see a documentary, get excited about the cause, swear I’m going to do something to help, and then move on to the next item on my to do list and forget to spread the word about the issue. Not this time…
Thanks to Hunger Free Colorado, I had the opportunity to preview the documentary, “A Place at the Table,” which opened nationwide on March 1. It was alarming to learn that while the United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, 50 million Americans do not know where their next meal is coming from.
As someone who is passionate about healthy eating and active living, the real eye opener for me was the link between food insecurity (hunger) and childhood obesity. But when you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense. Children who don’t have access to food – especially healthy food – are likely to eat unhealthy food without proper nutrients. And the childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are alarming! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: more than one third of American children and adolescents in 2010 were overweight or obese. Something has to be done to stop this epidemic.