Routines Help Create Order at Office

I really enjoy long weekends and stay-cations as I return to a rhythm that works for me. I find I am able to accomplish much and still have to visit with friends and relax. When I return to the office, I was often frustrated because I always felt as if I were “a day late and a dollar short.”

For the past year, though, that’s changed because I realized I need to find “the power of rhythm and routine” at work. That phrase comes from Cheryl Richardson in her book, The Art of Extreme Self Care. Creating routines “creates a sense of order that gives the mind a much-needed rest,” she writes.

What works for me, may not work for you, but perhaps you can find some inspiration in what I’ve tried.

I print my daily calendar for the next day before I leave the office at the end of the day. That way I already know if I have to pack a lunch or if I have an early meeting for which I must prepare. If that’s the case, I know to schedule my training session for a different day or only plan on a 30-minute morning workout. I also know what healthy snacks to pack.

I abhor voice mail so I’ve given myself permission to only check it at day’s end. In this technological age, if someone really needs me, they’ll find me, usually by email. I’ve never missed an important call. The benefit is that I return all calls at a set time. Most of the calls are salespeople, who also send an email.

At the start of each year (for me that is both January for the calendar year and July for the fiscal year) I review all standing meetings. I either continue them or delete them based on current operational plans. Having the meetings set makes it easier for me to manage my schedule.

I block my calendar on Friday afternoons. No, I’m not going home early. What I am doing is giving myself a few hours of undisturbed time where I can progress projects, clean up emails and organize my desk for the coming week. If I don’t block the time, someone will request a meeting. My team knows that Friday meetings should be avoided at all costs.

I spend too much time sitting, so the executive assistant who sits outside my office now tosses a rubber ball at my glass wall reminding me to get up and move around. After my walk – usually just around my floor — I return to my desk energized.

What will you do to create a sense of order?

5 Tips to Navigate a Conference Successfully

The NFPW Education Fund awarded several grants to cover the NFPW conference registration fee for first-timers. Whether you are a first-timer or attending your twentieth conference, here are a few tips for getting the most out of a conference:

Participate in POWER Networking. This event is held on the first day of the conference and is an easy way to meet about a dozen members. Then you can follow-up with them throughout the conference and afterwards. Even if you are an introvert, you’ll enjoy this event.

Bring plenty of business cards. You’ll want to share them as part of POWER Networking. You’ll also want to share them throughout the conference. When you do meet someone and exchange business cards, make a note on the back of the person’s card so you’ll recall the encounter and will have a reason to follow-up.

Highlighters are handy to have with you to mark what sessions you want to attend at a conference.

Review the schedule. The conference is jam-packed with workshop sessions, banquets and networking opportunities. Take a moment when you first arrive to highlight or circle the activities you must want to do. This will help prevent you from overlooking an activity.

Talk to someone you don’t know. Who knows, they may not know anyone either and you will each have a new acquaintance. I look forward to conferences now because I have made so many friends from across the United States.

Schedule time to explore. One of the best parts of NFPW conferences are the pre- and post-tours, as well as the day tours. Even if you weren’t able to participate in those, take a few hours to check out the neighborhood. This year’s conference is in Scottsdale, known for its breathtaking landscape, upscale shopping and ArtWalks. You’ll also want to check out the hotel, a former Hollywood hideaway. Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner wed at the hotel.

POWER Networking Jumpstarts NFPW Conference

One of the challenges of attending a conference is finding a way to meet people at more than just a surface level.

Last year at the NFPW conference, we held a POWER Networking, a structured networking event that breaks away from the model of speeding from one person to the next and instead focuses on truly connecting with others.

We gathered in small groups and provided information about ourselves to those at the table. Each person had a turn (a timer kept us on track). At the end of the session, we had all become acquainted with other members.

What I like about the approach is that I meet a lot of members quickly, and in a setting that doesn’t feel forced. More importantly I learn about the person as both an individual and as a professional.

Others who participated agreed.

“The networking session was a fun and fast way to get to know other members at the start of the conference,” said Cathy Jett of Virginia Press Women. “While short, there was still time for several people at one of the tables where I sat to get suggestions about books or other projects they were working on.”

First-timer Sylvia Dickey Smith of Press Women of Texas said, “As a result of the POWER Networking session, I no longer felt like a newcomer. I had friends!”

If you are attending the NFPW conference, you will have the opportunity to build relationships by tapping into new resources, making fresh discoveries and uncovering prospects and leads. Bring plenty of business cards and promotional materials and get ready to seize the moment!

My Month Without Television

Still water w/ rock

Not using television as a distraction has made me much calmer and more relaxed. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

In July when I was still watching television there was a commercial in which an Olympic athlete said they had not watched television since last summer. The point, of course, was that they were too busy training.

I wasn’t training for the Olympics, but I realized I was too busy. So I gave up television for a month. I thought it would be difficult, but it wasn’t. I didn’t even miss watching the Olympics (fortunately, the opening ceremonies were in July).

Now that the month is completed, I may indulge with a few movie rentals from Redbox (I didn’t even allow movie rentals in the house). I’ll also watch a few of my favorite fall shows, such as NCIS. I won’t, however, keep the TV on as a distraction. I’ve realized that keeping the TV off as much as possible is one of my “Absolute Nos.

Without television, I’m not feeling the need to spend money on the newest fashions, the newest designer crazes or the newest cereal. I’m reading many more books (10 in August!), which means the piles in my house are disappearing. I even made time to tackle some of the piles. That means I’m feeling more organized and relaxed.

I’m enjoying the quiet. With fall in the air, my windows are open and now I watch “Cat TV,” which is the myriad birds at the feeder. I even have a bird book to identify them – from the red-headed woodpecker to the black-capped chickadee (my favorite) to the tufted titmouse to the nuthatch.

I will, on occasion, enjoy an evening or two of mindless television watching. My experiment, though, helped me realize that television is not the way I need to unwind.

Do you know what you need to unwind?