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Many people have a slight case of F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out) and even more have an issue with saying no when opportunities present themselves.
It may sound like a great idea to be on every committee, at every meet-up and tapped into every conversation, but eventually, all of these demands on your time will weigh upon you and you will be forced to minimize in order to create a balance.
As many of us know, chaos in one area of your life can and will bleed over into the others if you don’t manage it. In order to get a better handle on the concept of minimizing, I spoke to Andre Blackman, founder and principal of the healthcare PR and digital branding consultancy Pulse + Signal.
Blackman’s experience is deeply rooted in the public health and digital/social media arenas, and his profile rose quickly as he blogged about the biggest issues at the intersection of health and technology. Industry leaders took notice and invited him to speak at conference panels and partner on projects. Eagerly accepting theses great opportunities, Blackman’s to-do list grew and became unsustainable.
“It was the end of 2011 and I was not in a good place,” he recalls. “Between Pulse + Signal, the Fast Forward Health Film Festival and my full-time post at the American Heart Association, I had too much to do. I knew something had to change.”
Here is how he was able to minimize and gain a balance that led to personal and professional success:
Consider minimizing technology in the process. Most go-getters today are hooked into some form of technology to manage their lives. Tools like Evernote, TeuxDeux and even Google Drive can be great for keeping things in order, but they can yet another thing for you to stay on top of. Sometimes the minimizing process means going back to the basics. When Blackman first began down this path, he went back to pen and paper. Disconnecting on that level helped him feel less stressed and scattered as he tackled the other steps in the process.
Schedule your priorities. This may seem like an obvious tip, but people usually falter here. It is great to have opportunities, especially when you are young, but you need to accept that you cannot do everything.
Make a priority list and block off time in your calendar to complete these tasks and activities. When your calendar fills up (and it will), accept that you cannot do anymore. You will need to say no sometimes, but it is okay because you will be able to fully commit to doing the things that are the most important to you.
Shift to priority management. During our discussion, Blackman observed that go-getters often find themselves on a tight rope, trying to balance simply too many things. From his perspective, time management will not help their situation if there literally is not enough time to accomplish it all.
He began making progress when he stopped trying to tackle time and focused on managing priorities. “Priority management allows you to go after the important things without risking burnout.”
Regardless of how you choose to minimize, know that the balance you are creating will help you sharpen your focus and line you up for a long, successful career.
James S. Walker (@jaywalk1 ) is a global digital manager on the Nature Conservancy’s international digital marketing team. Intrigued by how social and cultural insights connect people on a global level, Walker has completed long-term project assignments in China and Mongolia, and chronicles his thoughts on the industry via his blog, PR Prescriptions, and Website, Socially Diverse.