Successful women appreciate the value of setting aside time for themselves and their priorities. On a recent Monday the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) declared "IT'S ABOUT ME MONDAY" and had three advertising and media leaders share their stories, tips and tricks on eliminating distractions to find time they need for their priorities.  Special thanks to our Career Coach, Roseanne Amoils, Founder, What's Next Club who led the discussion with Jeannette Trout, SVP HR Lead at Publicis Health Media, Lauren Lawhon, Chief Operating Officer, Health Union, LLC and Cyd Falkson, CMO Podcast Notes & Client Service Director, MediaSense.
There were so many great ideas and plenty of validation as we all deal with distractions from other non-priority noise. The following paraphrases the top ten strategies and some of the details from the examples these ladies shared:
  1. Focus on Harmony (not balance) - Work life balance implies a 50/50 split but work life harmony suggests that your work life and personal life can coexist in a way that works for you, and without keeping score for balance. Lean in and lean back in the manner that works for your personal and professional priorities.  
  2. Be Kind to Yourself – Don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP. Asking for help often presents opportunities for others while freeing up your valuable brain space. The key is to frame as opportunities more than delegation. Quite often “done” is better than done perfect, the delay for “perfect” may not be worth the trade-off. Remember that everyone makes mistakes.
  3. You Can Have Anything but you can’t have everything (at least not at the same time.) Make your list of priorities short and specific (for instance, not saying “I want to spend more time with my family” but “I want  dinner together 4x/week.”). Block time on your calendar for your priorities.  
  4. Set and Communicate Boundaries - People are understanding when you clearly set boundaries. For communicating with your team the “Golden Rule” doesn’t apply in today's multi-channel world, some modes don’t work for everyone on the team, so let everyone know what works for you.
  5. Use Technology to Manage Your Boundaries - Little things like having two phones can be immensely useful for having a physical boundary between work and home life. Don’t overlook “delay send” features in email when you need to “timeshift” your work.
  6. Be Intentional - Communication has become extremely casual so we should all be intentional. Don’t be afraid to question intention, for example “When you text it conveys a sense of urgency, is that what you meant?” As a manager state “Just because I am working doesn’t mean I expect you to,”
  7. It’s Not About You (it’s about them) -  Manage the talk in your head when dealing with odd responses or lack of transparency. Get curious before you assume, ask for feedback. You can deescalate your own stress by understanding why others act/respond the way they do. Ask colleagues for their preferences and priorities. 
  8. Think Career Lattice – Your career doesn’t always have to move up the ladder, “sideways”  moves help you develop new skills and opportunities to explore areas of interest or the chance to focus on personal priorities.  Horizontal career moves can often be a pivot and trajectory. Seek out opportunities that energize you.
  9. Use the Positive “No” - Saying “no” to one thing allows you to say “yes” to another. It is okay to give yourself a “time out” and pull back when necessary for your well-being or to manage shifting priorities.
  10. Keep in Touch with Your Network - Professional relationships often lead to personal friendships; don’t underestimate them. At the end of the day, people genuinely want to work with a person and you never know what opportunities will come from maintaining connections.
Never forget you were hired because you add strength to the team and the team wants you to succeed. Don’t underestimate the empathy and support available to you. Figure out the best way to get your job done and communicate that with your team. 
How about multitasking? It appears the most successful jugglers don’t multitask. They know that successful multitasking a myth. Instead, they stay focused on a few key priorities and try to be fully present while accomplishing them.
Wishing you the power and awards of maintaining your focus as you pursue your personal and professional dreams.

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