If you are perceived as a hard worker, seeing in every challenge an opportunity to learn, you need to be resourceful to make your working days increasingly fruitful, while avoiding burn-out at any cost.
Only time and experience enable to know the tactics to be always more efficient while leaving enough spaces for breaks. Unfortunately, this is not learnt at school or in professional training. Given this situation, here are some thoughts related to my experience that I hope will be helpful.
- “If you love digital, you are always connected.” I love chocolate, but at the risk of surprising you, I also eat other things. What pressure do not we put on digital consultants or community managers today? I still do not use a smartphone. I Do Not. No seriously! This is my tactic to respect me and others around me. If I had a smartphone, I know I would never disconnect. It’s exactly like if I had a chocolate dispenser in my pocket, I know myself, I would be unable to resist. When I started to promote the use of new digital platforms for collaboration and communication, I had to quickly implement solutions to avoid having to stay connected 24/7, including during holidays. At a time when I had to build trust, I set up tactics to minimize the risks. Today, the simple fact of having gathered a lot of successes with digital technologies without being constantly connected is a window of hope for those who do not dare to launch digital initiatives for fear of being absorbed. It is better not to abuse chocolate to enjoy its benefits.
- At each new job, the same little catchphrase “you will be asked to be always available” to which is added a small variation since I have children, “but you have kids, don’t you? “. “But”? !!! Those who think that slowing down on work is mandatory are very wrong. My children are a choice of life, I do not see why this should change my relationship to work. Before my kids, I was doing more sport and more cultural activities, I was going out for a drink with colleagues when I could, whereas today my children are my main hobby outside work. Should I be less professional and less available for this reason? Certainly not. I make sure to put in place mechanisms to be available and successfully free myself from constraints when there is a need. Similarly, I am still amazed that we have more expectations on those who do not have children. It’s all about personality, desire and our own approach to work. Through collaborative and social technologies, I could rearrange my working time and achieve the flexibility I was looking for, leaving the “physical” workplace early to spend time with my kids and returning to the”virtual” workplace when my kids were sleeping. I was also able to significantly increase my productivity by reducing the time spent looking for information, exchanging emails, collaborating on documents, for example, while managing to maintain a social activity with my dear colleagues and external partners.
- “It’s easier to maintain a good balance between private life and professional life when working in the public service.” According to some, I would have worked less. How wrong. 10 years ago, I decided to leave a French company for the European Commission where all the working meetings and the documents were in English. And it was a challenge among others. The training I received there is certainly much underestimated by those who have not had the opportunity to confront the challenging, destabilizing, and sometimes totally inhumane thing that is a big administrative and political machine which gathers 28 different nationalities and even more cultures, not to mention the lack of very clear positioning and vision. Today, if I have managed to bring an air of change in the public service, and managed to show the benefits of being more collaborative and more efficient, I know I can do absolutely everything for everyone.
- I am against prejudice and I do not like locking people in boxes, I believe so much in the abilities of people that developing them have become one of my great passions. As I am very demanding at first, time and experience have taught me to make concessions. Not for more rest (!!), but for better listening. One of my most important lessons so far is that you can only fundamentally change things if you devote enough resources to understand others. And the web offers a lot of opportunities to improve the listening.