Anyone struggling with a sea of guilt these days? If you are anything like me, I feel TERRIBLY guilty for doing well these days while other are struggling professionally (survivors guilt!). I have heard from no less than 5 people recently that they are "laying low" on their victories and successes because others are struggling so hard right now. Here is what I have to say about that...
PLEASE SHARE YOUR HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW. The world needs it! The world needs you. The world needs to see that people are feeling happiness, and having victories--personal and professional. The meetings & events industry REALLY needs to hear that you are a) getting contracts b) getting work c) running successful events (live or virtual!) d) getting raises or WHATEVER ELSE is happening in your life that is good! No really--we need it. Share, Share, Share my loves! We all have our up and down seasons-- some last longer than others. No need to stay low because you fear others judgements. They know you will be there for them to celebrate their successes soon!
I've also been experiencing some other guilt that I wanted to talk about--the guilt that comes along with not making personal space. With being available professionally 24/7 knowing I am heading for a burnout, but still going on without any room for my personal life. With being SO busy with work and projects that I haven't been able to sit and call one of my good friends in Germany for over 6 weeks. (The guilt is REAL when I hit *decline* on those FaceTime calls!!!!) For being SO busy that I have to pull myself away from a firepit night with family just to go BACK to work--mostly because I just have so many meetings that I can't get anything DONE during work hours! I feel your PAIN, everyone!!
Since the big "C" (coronavirus) and big "P" (pivot), we've become increasingly more available to anything that brings in funding. Yep, I totally get it--we have-to-survive! We feel we need to be invaluable to our employers! But are you filling your personal cup? You cannot forget about YOU. Also, burnout. It is real and sneaks up on you fast.
The virtual strain is strange to me because even though I went "virtual" and became a remote employee 8 years ago, this forced "remote-ness" and virtual world is a whole new ballgame. (Side note: This is NOT what remote employment used to be about--this is a very strange time.) When the whole world all shifted virtual, suddenly nothing was off limits. EVERYONE wanted to see me via video, where as before I only had video calls scheduled twice a week. Full disclosure: As an introvert, I probably burn out on "camera" time faster than my extrovert colleagues. But suddenly NO hours were off-limits. I had invites over almost all my meals, lunches---and goodbye bathroom and food breaks! Does this sound like you?
If so, I wanted to provide a few tips on handling the CHAOS that comes along with life today...
Blocking time. You own your time, take back control. Go 1-4 weeks into your calendar's future now and start blocking meal times. Every Tuesday-Thursday I have a recurring appt with myself for 30 mins at lunch to just eat. Schedule a 15 min walk and lock it in so no one can see what you are doing. YES, do it now. In full disclosure--sometimes I end up booking stuff over these meetings anyways, but at least now I have them there as a personal reminder that I need space.
Shorten Appointments. If you are like me, you are experiencing a "slow death by meetings". I have back to back hours blocked almost non stop throughout the week. I've started asking people to block 15 min or 45 min chunks and not full hours where possible. (If nothing else it is a great way to wrap up meetings and use the bathroom before the next one!) This also forces people to be MINDFUL about your time and their agendas.
Send agenda items in advance where possible. "Pebbles" for Small stuff (1-3 min max) and "Rocks" for bigger agenda items (5 min + discussions). SET that agenda and walk in to each meeting having a GOAL on what to accomplish. End each meeting recapping action items for each person so you walk-away with clarity and the ability to get right in to the work!
Stop beating yourself up. We are so good at beating ourselves up for not being able to be everything to everyone. Thought--why don't you email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule 15 min with me---I have these amazing Intention Setting cards and I will draw your card and let the universe talk to you (yes, woo woo) for a moment. Sometimes we need to fill our plate up with things that bring us JOY again, or just have some fun and do something for ourselves!
Processing time (aka Zoning Space). I talked to a colleague of mine about this today (hey, Cindy!) With so many meetings, we are struggling to fit in productivity. Beyond that we never have a chance to just sit and STARE and think! Or strategize! Or WONDER and WANDER in our brains! This is so vital and we are missing out on daydreaming and just plain on zoning-out thought time. Do your best to make this a priority. It really does help refresh your brain!
Reconnect with friends. Virtual has meant "all work-no fun" these days to me, and the fun happy hours and catch ups via Zoom have fallen off the map because I'm so damn tired of being on these platforms. However, I forgot that laughing with my friends really does give me a boost some times! Reconnect with yourself. Reconnect with friends--work can wait. Zoom doesn't all have to be bad.
Utilize this grace we are so quick to give others and give yourself a break. Guilt is an absolute wasted emotion when you can do much more with that beautiful mind of yours!