Pat Law is my new idol. No, she’s not another Japanese singer. She’s a digital strategist for Ogilvy and a social media rockstar in Singapore. She recently wrote about how she stays on top of her ballgame with a demanding career and her online presence.
Her 3 tips for balancing her life:
- #1: Work comes first
- #2: Set a daily schedule
- #3: Draw a line
Like her, I too work in public relations with some focus on online media, albeit in-house. I think I do #1 and #3 fairly well. Work will always be first, and I draw a line between my roles as a blogger, a PR person and a friend.
But #2 is something I constantly struggle with. (See my sparse blog archive for proof). Since most of my work is project-based, there are times where I will work on 3-5 projects simultaneously. Most of the time, this means I will end up burning weekends. And then there are times where I will have nothing substantial to do. (Although, I have yet to see this in 2009).
This is how my work day looks like during a moderately busy period.
9:00am Arrive at the office. Open Outlook. Reply to the gazillion emails before my meeting.
9.30am Rush to meeting.
12:30pm Come out of meeting. Check Twitter and Outlook. Update my to-do list. If there are very urgent emails or stuff, skip lunch with colleagues and work. If not, have quick lunch with colleagues.
1.30pm Resume work or respond to more emails.
2:00pm Rush to another meeting.
4:00pm Break. Either go downstairs to pick up a drink, or play something mindless like Restaurant City for 5 minutes.
4:30pm While clearing work, get interrupted by a stakeholder. Do urgent job for them.
5:30pm Resume normal work and respond to emails.
7:00pm Finish up the most urgent stuff. Review to-do list for the next day. If there are still more urgent things to do, stay past 7.
7:30pm Order take out or eat with colleague who stayed late too.
8:45pm Arrive home. Log on to Adium (Mac’s IM client) and Mixero (Twitter app). Chat with friends, reply any DMs or @replies. Check personal email, nanyate.com and Facebook. If it requires urgent response, reply.
11:30pm Wait for the boyfriend to wake up (since he’s on the other side of the world) Chat on MSN, Skype or on the phone.
Looking at her, I know I have lots more to learn – not just about the world of social media, but also about time management and life in general. Expertise and the realm of rockstarhood seem to come with some level of sacrifice. She sleeps less for one, and almost dedicates her whole day to social media and work, while mine is still peppered with other interests and quite a bit of downtime.
I’ve also only been working for one year, so there’s no way I can be on par yet. But I guess it’s time to step up my A-game. Ashita mo ganbaro! Thanks Pat, for the inspiration!