As we work to build our professional brand we often play "tug of war" with balancing our personal and professional life. In either forum -- personal or professional -- we often find ourselves saying "yes" to everyone and everything. No matter how much we do it feels like it is not enough. However, trying to do it all comes with its pitfalls. Personally, our time is required by our family. Our friends miss us. And we need time for ourselves. Professionally, as we build our brand, we balance attendance at networking events, collaborate to build business relationships and meet project deadlines... on time.
Unfortunately, it is not until events, engagements and commitments start to falter due to the realization that "we just can't do it all." Superwoman is burned out!
In order to protect your professional brand it is essential to make sound decisions and set clear boundaries for yourself. I realized time management skills are an essential aspect to incorporate in order to protect your brand. Simply put, tardiness, cancellation of appointments, unreturned phone calls and delayed responses to email can tarnish your brand.
As we continue to make strides in our professional career a huge pitfall most professionals encounter is the lack of regard for one's time. I firmly believe my time is valuable. Therefore, I respect other's time as I want them to respect mine. Ultimately, time is one of those elements that should not be wasted because time lost cannot be retrieved.
So, I say all this to say, as professionals, it is essential to know your limits. This will allow you to preserve your physical and mental wellness required to maintain your relationships, both, personal and professional.
Before you say yes to the meeting, luncheon, assignment, conference call, networking event, trip to the mall, weekend getaway or preparing three dozen cupcakes... STOP, look at your calendar and ask.
Do I really want to do this?
If not, DO NOT DO IT. Your heart should be vested in the things you desire to give your time to. I have found over the past few years it is just fine to say "no."
Do you really have time?
If not, DO NOT DASH IN and DASH OUT, just to say you were there. Make sure you account for travel and meditation time before diving into the next appointment or task on your calendar. Trust me, people can tell when you are just "trying to fit them in."
Can this wait until a better time?
If yes, then RESCHEDULE. Find the best time to reschedule to ensure you exhibit your very best self. If this requires cancelling, then do so 24 hours in advance.
Have you cancelled before?
If yes, DO NOT CANCEL AGAIN. The second time around, make sure you go out of your way to accommodate and repair your reputation. Of course, life happens; but, show your client or audience you are worth the wait.
Protecting your brand is extremely important. Key aspects to consider as tips to protect your brand are to manage your time, value the time of others, balance personal and professional commitments and rid yourself of the Superwoman complex!