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In Real Life, Shine, Work on
November 12, 2017

Slowing Down in a Fast-Paced Career

Working in PR, life moves pretty fast. Much like my friends and colleagues who work in PR, my life also revolves around deadlines, email and mental checklists.

From the moment I wake up to just before I go to sleep, projects, ideas, deadlines and all the things are swirling around in my mind. And when I do give myself five minutes to pause, I often wonder “Where the heck did the last month go?” or “How is it already Thanksgiving?!” It’s crazy how fast life moves. 

I first learned the importance of slowing down when I was in college.

It was a couple of weeks before finals my sophomore year of college. I was taking 18 credits (per usual), involved in three student organizations, volunteering, working 40 hours per week between two part-time jobs and aiming to get straight A’s on top of that. I remember it was a Thursday night at about 8 p.m. or so and I just broke down. I was in my car, had just pulled into my dorm’s parking lot from running errands and just started sobbing and breathing quickly. I couldn’t catch my breath. So I called my mom and cried hysterically because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get it all done (you know, multiple papers and exams). It was at that time when I realized I just had too much on my plate and I needed to learn how to set priorities.

Since then, I made sure to be intentional about what I say “yes” to and how I spend my time. I’ve also had to let go of comparison, realize that I can’t do it all (or at least do it all well) and learn how to forgive myself (that’s still a work in progress). Oh, and not feel guilty for zoning out and watching TV after a busy day or taking a few hours to read a good book on the weekend. 

I have a fairly high tolerance for stress, but there were moments in my life where I internalized it and struggled with it behind closed doors. It was about three months into my first agency job when I walked into my boss’ office to tell him that I just had too much on my plate and of course, being an emotional blob, I couldn’t hold back the tears. That’s when I learned the valuable lesson about speaking up, ASKING FOR HELP, and telling people I’m stressed BEFORE it snowballed into something bigger.

But see, I used to view “feeling stressed” as a weakness. I equated stress with failure. But man, was I wrong.

I soon learned the difference between “good stress” and “bad stress.” The majority of stress in our lives is often “good stress” like having prioritize deadlines, shopping for a new car, saving for the future, etc. While these aren’t always fun things in the moment, they are ultimately all good things.

Since learning to embrace the good stress in my life – I like to call stress “excitement” – it’s completely changed how I work and approach stressful situations. It’s helped me know that there will always be work to be done. It’s also helped me let go of being perfect and to just get the work done.

I’ve also learned the importance of creating time for myself and to work on my own personal growth. That means reading more books and writing for myself. 

I’ve also been more intentional about how I use social media, which has even allowed me to strengthen my online presence. Instead of scrolling mindlessly throughout the day, I give myself my 30 minutes in the morning, a couple social media breaks throughout the day and then 30 minutes in the evening to get caught up on my personal accounts. That means I’m not scrolling while I’m waiting in line for my coffee or waiting for the bus. I’m present in the moment and allowing myself it sit with my thoughts or reflect on what I’m grateful for.

All of this said, I’ve been working on slowing down in a fast-paced career. I know that I will always be busy, but I have stopped using “busy” as an excuse. Thriving in this fast-paced world is all about time management and making priorities. I have picked a career where work is a BIG part of my life. It’s not something I can completely shut off when I leave the office. That’s why it’s important to embrace it while also creating time to slow down. 

It’s been one of my goals to grow this conversation about slowing down in a fast-paced career, especially with those who work in PR and marketing. I’m always surprised by the number of people I’ve talked to who work in PR and marketing and hear about their stories of burn out. I want to find a way to change the conversation. I believe it is possible to work hard and thrive in a PR career without putting yourself in the hospital because of it. However, it’s going to take slowing down. We owe it to ourselves to slow down so we can thrive in all aspects of our lives. 

In Work on
October 29, 2017

5 Ways I Prepare for the Week Ahead

Preparing for the Week Ahead - Olivia Adams PR

It’s Sunday morning and I’m currently snuggled up on the couch with coffee in hand, candles lit and Twilight playing in the background (yes, I am a closet Twilight fan although Harry Potter will always be my #1). It’s also Halloween weekend, so I’m soaking up every bit of “fall vibes” I can before the holidays kick in.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Sundays. Weekends are often a sacred time where we try to pack everything we didn’t get to do during the week into 48 hours while also making time for fun, hobbies and catching up on sleep (aka self care). Talk about high expectations for an epic weekend! 

For a couple of years, weekends used to stress me out a lot. I mean a lot. I would celebrate on Friday, run errands or catch up on work I didn’t get to during the week on Saturdays and then arrive to Sunday feeling like the weekend slipped through my fingers (and often cry about it or go into full flown anxiety attack mode). What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that I was actually having amazing weekends; I was just hard on myself for not getting to everything on my weekend to-do list. 

And then I soon discovered I was approaching weekends the wrong way. It’s the weekend – why do I need to pressure myself to do all of the things?

Once I stopped watching the clock and started letting go of my insane weekend to-do list, I won my weekends back. While I still create weekend to-do lists (because there is so much satisfaction in making lists), I’ve learned to give myself more grace if I don’t get to everything. After all, it is the weekend – a time for rest and relaxation. What’s most important to me now is that I completed my #1 to-do list item (whether that was meal prepping or finishing a work project) and completed something for myself (like reading a book, doing something fun or watching a movie).

I’ll be the first to admit that every now and again I get a case of the “Sunday Scaries.” But fortunately, they are now a rare occurance. That’s why today I thought I’d share a few things I do every Sunday to help me prepare for the upcoming week, and head into Monday feeling refreshed and excited. 

Take stock of my to-do list for the week.

Every Sunday, I crack open my trusty Simplified Planner to write my Monday to-do list and write in meetings, conference calls, deadlines and appointments for the new work week. Even though every week changes on the fly (e.g. calls getting canceled or a new project to added to the to-do list, basically #PRLife), mapping out my week gives me peace of mind knowing that I can head into Monday with an idea of what’s in store and as few surprises as possible. 

Refresh my weekly priorities.

Working with a handful of different and diverse clients, I’m constantly on the move and having to stay on top of my to do list. I keep a running list of every project I have for each client (I used to keep it in a Word document but now I use a trusty notepad) so I know what I have in the pipeline for each client. This master list allows me to prioritize projects for each client, and then at the end of the week I can cross off what I accomplished (talk about some awesome satisfaction!).

Grocery shopping and meal prep.

I always end my weekend with a trip to the grocery store and an afternoon of meal prep. This is probably one of my biggest saving graces as it gives me one less thing to worry about Monday-Friday. After shopping, I prep lunches and dinners for the week, since I spend most evenings at the gym and don’t get home until 8:30 p.m. Having meals prepared in advance makes it easier to plan and gives me more time so I don’t have to think about cooking when I get home every night.

Something fun.

Something fun is always a priority for Sundays. I mean, it is Sunday Funday after all. Sunday Funday usually looks like either a movie date with my boyfriend, checking out new breweries or going to brunch, meeting up with friends for trivia night, or having a lazy Sunday at home watching football or TV. Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate more of my hobbies like reading, blogging and handlettering into my “something fun” category so I can also feel like I did something rewarding for myself.

Relax and unwind.

At the end of my Sunday (anywhere between 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) is when I build in time for additional relaxation. Although meal prep or “something fun” sometimes bleeds into this special time of the day, I try to build in 30 minutes for unwinding before bed. Unfortunately, this has been the hardest thing for me to do lately because life has been really busy and I’m often finding myself going to bed without unwinding first. When I get to unwind, however, this usually consists of doing a facial, painting my nails, reading a book, journaling or watching a movie or TV show. 

Weekends are still a work in progress for me, and there are some where I wish I had more minutes in the day. However, slowing down and giving myself time to relax and do things for me have helped me fill my cup. Hopefully these rituals I follow give you some inspiration for a slower and happier weekend.

I’m always curious to hear how others spend their Sundays. What are some of your favorite ways to prepare for the week ahead? 

Photo credit: Twigy Posts 

Preparing for the Week Ahead - Olivia Adams PR: Finding yourself with a case of the "Sunday Blues"? Here are some things I do each Sunday to prepare for the week ahead and feel excited and refreshed for Monday!