Give Yourself Permission to Breathe

By: Jen Borucki

Editor’s Note: I honestly don’t know if I’m writing this for you or myself right now!

Supporting our business development goals seems like a peak and valley enterprise. Just when we least expect it, the peak raises the bar to a whole new level.

As I type this, knowing there are pots running over all four metaphorical burners in front of me, I had to take a moment to celebrate something one of my first and most influential managers told me.

It’s okay to breathe.

That’s so simple and biologically necessary, but how often do we forget when the to-do is doubling every few minutes? How do we keep ourselves focused and minimize our stress? How do we give ourselves permission to breathe?

Here are a few ideas to help both of us catch a breath:

  • Prioritize the tasks. As the action intensifies, it can be difficult to remember which items are a) can do’s, b) must do’s and c) I’d really like to do’s. I’ve found my internal compass likes to increase my workload more than any colleague.
  • Do it “write.” Okay, this is going to make me seem like a heretic – but consider bucking the system and reverting to a printed planner or at least a notebook. There are amazing benefits to the power of the handwritten word. Writing things down helps us improve our understanding by selectively deciding what items are the most important rather than regurgitating entire volumes on our keyboards that we have to navigate later. It helps commit critical information to memory.  And if we are trained in old-school cursive, it will intensify our engagement and retention even further.
  • Schedule time for everything. Hate meetings? Here’s something that may sound counterintuitive: schedule one. With yourself. Only attendee. For some reason, people with access to our calendars take a scheduled meeting more seriously than any other blocked time. Or the proverbial door blocking the entrance to our cubicle. I’m remote, but if I wasn’t, I’d even consider relocating to an empty conference room or offsite fast food dining area.
  • Delegate early and often.  Even if you aren’t responsible for direct reports, you can delegate key tasks and fact-finding missions to colleagues, teammates, and vendors. You can even upward delegate if needed. I am learning the names of people I didn’t even know existed and they are making my current tasks so much more manageable and saving me time.
  • All challenging things must come to an end. This is where the real breathing begins! Don’t be afraid to shut it down. Let’s make a promise to each other… and I might be the first to break it, so please keep me honest. When the workday is done and we leave our desks, let’s REALLY leave our desks. I know we will feel guilty. But I also know downtime after a busy day can spur some of the most incredible ideas. The temptation to act is intense. If that’s you too, let’s impose some limits. Send ourselves a text, leave ourselves a voicemail message. (Don’t go into email because you don’t need to be distracted by any lingering items that must wait for tomorrow.) Then let your mind go blank with a good book, bad movie, an hour of puppy play time, and an early bedtime.

Writing this has given me a little distance from the fires at hand. Who knew blogs could be so therapeutic? Mental roadblocks clear. Back to the task at hand!

About the Author: In addition to supporting her team at PDS Tech Commercial, Inc., Jen is an entrepreneur who solves a broad range of business and marketing needs via traditional, digital, and social media. She is currently preparing for her APMP Foundation Certification. Jen is an active member of the Marketing Communications Committee for GMC.