A Glimpse into Careers Over Coffee North


Written by Barbra A. Rodriguez.

How to Be Efficient: A Roundtable Discussion

CoC North Jan 2017

About a dozen WCA ladies gathered in mid-January at Mimi’s Café for Careers Over Coffee North and an introspective look at how to be efficient and focused in their business lives this year. Spearheading the exchange was Dana Marruffo, VP of freelance programming, and president-elect Karen Aroian, who provided a page of talking points to get the conversation flowing.

The discussion began with a round table mention of the major growth areas attendees were interested in spending energy on – from developing a web site to have a more steady income flow, to making more time for empowering activities (at work and at home), to creating an action plan for a busy mom wanting to transition into a new professional role in a few years.

Among the short-term suggestions for staying efficient with achieving tasks were setting aside time every week to plan your business activities, and getting yourself to actively schedule the steps needed to accomplish a goal. Attendees also discussed being careful not to overdo goal setting – perhaps giving yourself one professional and one personal goal to focus on for six months. That advice dovetails with the “manageable” step in a mantra about successful goal setting that was mentioned: making goals that are SMART (specific, manageable, achievable, relevant and timely).

Setting aside some down time every once in a while to regroup and check in with your big picture was suggested. For instance, you might do this on a free weekend every three or so months. Others discussed the importance of having long-term plans. One attendee noted that you might find yourself at the end of your 10-year plan sooner than you expect. Being willing to be flexible about a career plan was also highlighted so you don’t find yourself stuck with a work focus that no longer meets your emotional or other needs.

The overarching challenge the women highlighted was balancing their professional and personal needs. As one attendee asked, “What are you doing to invest in yourself?” For one person that has meant learning to ignore a boss’ requests after work hours are done; for another, making time to go to the gym regularly.

Although members had lots to say about the struggle to find “me time” in schedules, the table quieted when the conversation focused on finding a habit that attendees were willing to part with this year. It seems that letting go can be as tough a step for many of us as giving ourselves permission to focus on non-professional needs.

Does this ring true for you as well? Finding the balance that works for YOU requires commitment and more importantly, self-love. WCA provides a fantastic support network, but only you can make time for you. 

Careers Over Coffee meets this Friday, February 10th. Make some time for you and come enjoy a cup o’ jo with us! 

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  1. I think it’s great that the attendee who mentioned ignoring her boss’ requests after work hours has found a way to create boundaries. As a manager, I save emails that I write after hours into the Drafts folder and send them during work hours the next morning. That way I don’t unintentionally pull my team members’ minds back into work mode when they should be in recharge mode. (Or putting the kids to bed mode.)

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