// Every month, I send a text born out of my experience and my reflections - like this one. Sometimes with learning and sometimes with unresolved dilemma, I share how it feels to be a corporate activist. If you'd like to receive the next ones directly in your mailbox, here is where to subscribe - it comes with a no-spam promise 😇 //
I hope you are full of energy to face frenzy September at the office!
Now everybody is back from the summer holidays and the plans are finally clear about this year targets (come on, you know it's true 🤣).
A tsunami of requests is coming your way, and whether or not they fit in your job description is a detail to your manager.
To improve the whole picture, it's also the time that HR wakes up and plans 2-3 days long training and that a VP launches a series of workshops to "co-build the strategy".
You slowly fall into the trap of too much to do and not enough days in a week. Sounds familiar?
Being a helpful hand to your boss and/or the organisation is always a pleasure (hear the sarcasm in my voice as a nominated volunteer to organize the yearly convention...).
Yet it conflicts with the stuff that you already had on your to-do list / plate:
- the deliverables of your core job - the ones more or less clearly described in your job desc
- the "team commitment" aka "going the extra mile" which is unspoken but expected of you to prove that you are ready for the next level (think budget preparation or yearly executive summary to the functional board member)
- your family & friends and beyond the logistics of the kids competitions in the week-end, also the unwavering emotional support that you want to offer them
- the maintenance and chores at home, cooking cleaning groceries laundry etc as relics of post-ww2 standards of living when one spouse would full time stay home
- time for yourself - to feel good on the physical, metal, emotional levels (these needs seem to be frequently neglected at the expense of the others listed above...)
And then here I come with my crazy idea that to be happy at work we should also be part of side projects and spontaneous initiatives which contribute to a better world...
YEAH, RIGHT ??!!??
(sarcastic tone - again 🙃)
Well, I know it sounds crazy.
I realized how impossible it sounded when talking to a colleague/ friend of mine, at one of our lives / hopes / next steps coffee catch-up.
She was curious about the fact that I had started preparing a business beside my job and how I was approaching it. What it actually entailed and how much time it was taking me.
She was also perplex at the fact that I decided to accept a promotion and that I was still heading the local chapter of the inclusive diversity initiative.
Oh and that I had two young kids that needed their mummy daily.
She looked at me and asked: "How do you make it all fit? What's your secret?"
It hit me that if you indeed present it this way, it looks like one of these impossible riddles, like "how do you connect 9 dots without lifting your pen?"
How do you connect 9 dots, laid out in a square, with 4 straight and continuous lines (or less!), without re-tracing over a line and without lifting the pen?
Well, like for the dots riddle, the solution is found by drawing outside the box, i.e. by challenging the perceived boundaries of the puzzle…
The secret is... there is no secret. 😱
Like everybody else I have 24 hours in day and 7 days a week, and not everything I would like to do fits in this box.
I don't do it all. Or at least I don't do it all every week.
Some of my commitments are included every day - like connecting with my kids. There is no compromise on that, ever.
The other priorities fluctuate according to order of priority and deadlines. I gave up on regularity and chose flexibility instead. There are periods of relative control and periods of insane chaos!
Mash-ups are a good trick - finding the way to tick multiple boxes in the same amount of time. Rollerblading on Sunday morning with the family in the forest ticks the boxes of being with the kids and hubby / doing some sport / being outside in nature / relaxing. 4-in-1!
Heading the Inclusive Diversity group at work counts for being creative / doing something good / finding meaning at work to bear the job desc / finding a sense of belonging among like-minded people / Gaining visibility at work for showing leadership. 5-in-1!
And if there was one adjustment variable to mention it's sleep... Some nights end up being pretty short and I started needing naps on some Saturday afternoon (I am not proud of it, but at some point, you just need to listen to what your body is craving for😴)
I never said that life was always glamorous...
But one thing I know for sure, is that one of the key to happiness is to be clear about what you want to do with your life, and then do it. Figure out what you need to do to get fulfillment, and make it happen for yourself.
And since we all share the same limiting factor of time, the real question is : What is YOUR order of priority?
I'd love it if you'd share what your approach to time and to choices is, so just click reply to this mail and let's chat!
Be well, be strong, be good,